BELLEVUE, Wash. -- We're getting a new perspective on the tense moments surrounding a police standoff that shut down a busy Bellevue shopping center on Wednesday. KING 5's cameras were actually inside the 911 center, when frantic witnesses started calling for help.
"I just thought, we need to get people there right now," said dispatcher Kelly Stiefel.
Stiefel took the first 911 call that came in to NORCOM in Bellevue. It was just her first week on the floor, working the phones.
"I've been going through the training here for about three months now, and I've been out on the floor for a week and a half, maybe, taking calls with my trainer," she said. "I have a trainer that's plugged in with me, so she's listening to everything I say, and we debrief after each call to see what needs to be changed."
Stiefel says her heart was racing when she answered that call on Wednesday, but she remained calm because it's what she'd been taught to do.
"Wednesday is the highest priority call I've ever taken," she said. "I answered the call, and the caller immediately said there was somebody with a gun, and we didn't have her location right away, so that was the most important thing."
We now know, the man that witness was calling about was a suspect in a shooting that took place earlier this week.
When King County Sheriff's Office detectives tracked him down at a shopping center on Lakemont Boulevard SE, he pulled out a gun, in a parking lot packed with people.
The 911 call Stiefel took was from one of many frightened customers, who'd been shopping in nearby stores when the incident occurred. Those stores were put on lockdown for hours, as negotiators tried to convince the man to surrender.
"It's a little surreal, because at the time that you're taking the call, you're just focusing on what you need to do in that moment," said Stiefel.
She says she breathed a huge sigh of relief when the suspect surrendered just after 10 p.m.
"Yes, that was a relief," she said. "That was great to be able to go home after that and know that everybody went home safe. That's the most important thing."
The NORCOM 911 center dispatches for 14 fire agencies and five law enforcement agencies in the northeast part of King County.
Meanwhile, the suspect in Wednesday's standoff is due in court on Friday afternoon.