Milwaukee 911 dispatcher hailed a hero

MILWAUKEE — A 911 dispatcher for Milwaukee police is being hailed a hero for talking with a man who threatened suicide and convincing him to do the right thing.

A distraught man was in the backyard of his home on Milwaukee’s north side Sunday, June 24th. He had plans to kill himself. He pointed a gun at his own head as his girlfriend and child tried to stop him.

Keena Woods-Smith answered the 911 call from the man’s girlfriend at that stressful moment.

Girlfriend: “Tell daddy you love him.”
Child: “I love you. “
Dispatcher: “Does he know the police are coming?”
Girlfriend: “Yes. He doesn’t care.”
Child: “I love you daddy.”

With police on the way, Woods-Smith tried to help.

Dispatcher: “You have a gun on you right now?”
Man: “Uh huh.”
Dispatcher: “Honey, you know the police are coming there?”
Man: “Yeah.”
Dispatcher: “I need you to put that gun down. I need you to put it down. I don’t want you to harm yourself, okay? What’s going on in your head right now?”

“I just pretty much kind of did a prayer in my head,” Woods-Smith said.

Man: “I’m taking my life right now before they get here. “
Dispatcher: “No, no, no, no. I don’t want you to do that. I don’t know you, but you don’t sound like a bad person. You sound like a really nice person. If you do that, it’s going to affect a lot of people’s lives.”

It might have been the calm tone Woods-Smith took with the man, or it might have been her faith. Moments later, the man with the gun chose life.

Girlfriend: “He put the gun down. It’s not on the ground, but he put it down.”
Dispatcher: “Tell him to come and hug you.”

In the end, Woods-Smith doesn’t believe she saved the man — or is a hero. She says she is proud of him for deciding to do the right thing.

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