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Hernando County 911 call recounts terror at fatal shooting scene

“I felt like I was there with her,” said 911 operator Milagros Ramos, 29. “I was really afraid for her. It felt like a long time for me, too.”


“I felt like I was there with her,” said 911 operator Milagros Ramos, 29. “I was really afraid for her. It felt like a long time for me, too.”

BROOKSVILLE — Amy Wilson tried to stay calm and give information to a 911 dispatcher, even as blood poured out of her wounded shoulder.

"A man came to the house and started shooting," she said. "I don't know who he is. We're all shot!"

Wilson was one of four women shot Thursday afternoon at a home on Wilhelm Road. Wilson, 33, and Manessa Donovan, 19 and pregnant, survived. Kathryn Donovan, 61, and Deborah Tillotson, 59, Donovan's office manager at a home-based color analysis business, were killed.

Authorities say Kathryn Donovan's brother, John Kalisz, 55, shot the four women and later shot and killed a Dixie County sheriff's captain who tried to apprehend him in Cross City. Kalisz is recovering from wounds at Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

Wilson has been released from Tampa General Hospital, and Manessa Donovan remains there in intensive care. Donovan lost her fetus during surgery.

A man at Wilson's home in Hudson said Wednesday she is not ready to talk about the shooting. He said she is still scared and "wondering why … she's still alive."

The Hernando County Sheriff's Office released a recording of the 911 call Wednesday. On it, Wilson pleads with the dispatcher, Milagros Ramos, to get emergency workers to the blood-soaked home quickly, even while she tries to reassure Manessa Donovan that help is on the way.

"Manessa, stay calm, baby," Wilson said to her friend.

At one point, she even apologizes to Ramos for being angry.

"I'm sorry, I don't mean to yell," she said. "But I'm bleeding, and I'm hurt."

Wilson tries to give Ramos information about the shooter and the location of the other victims, but she is limited by her wounds.

"I'm on the ground, and I can't move," she said.

Wilson tells the operator she can see Tillotson lying by a screen door trying to breathe.

After about five minutes and 46 seconds had elapsed on the recording, sirens are heard in the background as emergency crews near the house.

They arrived about seven minutes and 22 seconds into the call.

Wilson can be heard screaming for help, the exertion apparently leaving her weak and woozy. "I'm not feeling good right now," she said. "I feel like I'm getting sleepy."

"I'm gonna die," she moans as Ramos tries to calm her. "No, no, we're going to stay on together," Ramos said. "They're coming for you."

"I can't believe the guy came in and shot us," Wilson says quietly. "I just started working here last week."

Wilson laments that her husband doesn't know that she has been shot.

"He doesn't even know I've been hurt," she said.

"I don't want to die in Brooksville."

• • •

At the sheriff's emergency operation center on Wednesday, Ramos walked onto the second-floor balcony outside the dispatch room to collect her thoughts about the first homicide call she has fielded in her three years on the job.

"I felt like I was there with her," said Ramos, 29. "I was really afraid for her. It felt like a long time for me, too."

Ramos said she returned to her desk, took a few more 911 calls — most of them related to the shooting — and worked until 7 that night.

Instead of heading home after work, she went to spend the night with her family.

She didn't want to be alone.

"I didn't want to spend the rest of the night thinking about it," she said.

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report. Greg Hamilton can be reached at or at (352) 754-6113. Joel Anderson can be reached at or at (352) 754-6120.

Hernando County 911 call recounts terror at fatal shooting scene 01/20/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 9:15pm]
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