911 Recordings Released from Altavista Shooting
Altavista, VA - Friday, ABC 13 obtained the 911 recordings from the Altavista police shooting that killed Delma Towler. Dispatchers tried several times to get Towler to answer her phone, even warning her at one point that officers were outside. But it ended when an Altavista officer shot and killed the 83-year-old.
Friday, ABC 13 spoke with Towler's daughter. Understandably, Madeline Clark is very upset one week after her mom's death. But, to Towler's family, the recordings are proof their version of the events that night is right.
"Yes, this is Campbell County 911. We had a 911 hang up call from this resident. The Altavista Police Department is outside and needs someone to come to the door. They're there to check on you," said dispatcher, Campbell County.
One week later, 911 recordings are painting a clearer picture of the beginning. According to family, Delma Towler never heard that voicemail. In fact, it was impossible. She did not have her hearing aids in or glasses on.
"Delma, are you there? Hello," said a dispatcher in a second recording.
The death certificate tells the ending: Delma Towler took a bullet to the neck, pelvis and leg. Her body found in her sister's front yard. To make matters worse, her family says she was trying to get a supposed intruder out of her home. And they say this recording proves just that: "Delma," said the dispatcher, as Towler's dog Sugar is barking.
"What stands out to you?" we asked Clark.
"The dog barking. That tells me somebody was in that house," said Clark.
Scared, family says Towler grabbed her handgun firing warning shots into the ceiling.
But, law enforcement tell a different story. The State Police investigation says Towler pointed her gun at Altavista Police.
"Yes, this is Campbell County 911," said dispatcher. "We have officers outside of your residence. They advice me you're armed with a handgun. You need to put it away. It is the police department. They are trying to check on you."
The police department that responded to Towler's 911 call, in the end, took her life. Towler's family just wants the truth:
"I'm just numb," said Clark. "I feel lost. The world just feels empty without my mother in it."
The 911 recordings show Campbell County dispatchers tried a handful of times to contact Towler. But, family says that with no hearing aids, no glasses and a supposed intruder in her home, Towler was in no position to answer the voicemail.