Dispatcher who kept woman calm after Mecca Twp. shooting says she’s the hero

Local News

Theodore Harrell was the 911 operator who answered the terrified woman's call Sunday as she hid in a bedroom closet

HOWLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – A Trumbull County dispatcher is now talking about how he helped a woman holed up inside of a Mecca Township home during Sunday’s shooting. She called from a closet for help and feared for her life.

Theodore Harrell kept the survivor calm, letting her know she was not alone and help was on the way.

Police found a man and woman shot dead inside of that house on Hoagland Blackstub Road. Investigators are still working to figure out how it happened.

The woman’s terrified adult daughter hid in a bedroom closet.

“The fear was immediately noticeable,” Harrell said.

She told him her mother’s fiancé did it and he was still in the house.

MORE: One of the people found shot dead in Mecca Twp. had history of domestic violence

“Every once in a while, I’d just whisper, ‘I’m still here,'” Harrell said. “Trying to keep her calm.”

Harrell on 911 call: “I just want you to stay quiet until you know he can’t hear you, OK? Don’t even answer me.”

“She was still alive. She was our priority. We had to take care of her. She was the mission at that point,” Harrell said.

He stayed on the phone with her the entire time and relayed what she was telling him to his coworkers, who passed it on to law enforcement on the scene.

“The 911 dispatcher did a nice job as well, knowing when to be quiet and when to give the information,” Trumbull County Sheriff’s Major Jeff Palmer said Monday.

“I couldn’t have done it without all these guys here,” Harrell said. “These guys — every one of these people here, working behind the scenes to get law enforcement, medical, other agencies involved here. All to get a rapid response to get as many people as we can because they took that all off my back and I was able to dedicate everything to her.”

Investigators said shortly after deputies arrived on scene, they heard two gunshots coming from inside the house.

When they went inside, they found Vincent Coburn, Jr. dead in the living room and Jill Pollnow dead in a back bedroom.

The caller was still in the closet — scared, but unharmed.

“Everybody down here does this job because they want to help,” Harrell said.

He’s calling the woman on the other end of the line a hero.

“To be able to stay calm in — such a tragic thing happened to her and it was really sad.”

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