July 27, a Friday night, was busy at the Franklin County 911 center. A big fight had broken out at the Shippensburg Fair and about 10 people needed ambulances.
Dave Donohue, director of the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, said dispatchers were busy coordinating efforts of the mass casualty situation before a call for help came just before 9 p.m. that will never be forgotten.
“The initial phone calls were from the victims,” Donohue said. “We actually listened to the incident as it was occurring.”
On the other end of those calls was something unthinkable: three people had been shot and killed at a Quincy Township home and a four-year-old girl had been abducted.
Police would later arrest 35-year-old Kevin Cleeves of Chambersburg and charge him with kidnapping his daughter and criminal homicide in the deaths of his estranged wife, 25-year-old Brandi Cleeves, her boyfriend, 28-year-old Vincent
Santucci, and Santucci's mother, 55-year-old Rosemary Holma, in the
front yard of Santucci's home in the 7600 block of Anthony Road.
The dispatcher heard gunshots and was able to get help on the way by tracking the call with a GPS system. A response for the child abduction was immediately activated.
“I am very proud of them, as I am of every dispatcher working for us,” Donohue said. “Our dispatchers have become the gold standard.”
The dispatchers who were working that evening were this week honored by Franklin County Commissioners.
Several other 911 centers have requested audiotapes of the call to train their dispatchers.