It’s not clear whether the delay made a difference because Lanza killed himself one minute after the first officer arrived on the scene, according to the report.
In one of the recordings released Wednesday, dispatchers were heard making three calls to Connecticut state police that apparently rang unanswered. One of those calls rang for at least 50 seconds. State police picked up on a fourth call.
But state police had already been dispatched to the school by the time those calls were made, according to a timeline and call log supplied by Newtown officials.
In all, seven recordings of landline calls from inside the school to Newtown police were posted Wednesday. Calls that were routed to state police are the subject of a separate, pending freedom of information request by the AP.
“We all understand why some people have strong feelings about the release of these tapes. This was a horrible crime,” said Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor and senior vice president. “It’s important to remember, though, that 911 tapes, like other police documents, are public records. Reviewing them is a part of normal newsgathering in a responsible news organization.”
Teresa Rousseau, whose daughter Lauren was among the six educators killed, said she hadn’t listened to the tapes: “The way we keep our sanity is to start ignoring this stuff.”
Rousseau, an editor at the Danbury News-Times, said there was no need to play the tapes on the radio or television.
“I think there’s a big difference between secrecy and privacy,” Rousseau said. “We have these laws so government isn’t secret, not so we’re invading victims’ privacy.”
On the day of the shooting, the AP requested 911 calls and police reports, as it and other news organizations routinely do in their newsgathering.
The prosecutor in charge of the Newtown investigation, State’s Attorney Stephen Sedensky III, argued that releasing the tapes could cause pain for the victims’ families, hurt the investigation, subject witnesses to harassment and violate the rights of survivors who deserve special protection as victims of child abuse.
A state judge dismissed those arguments last week.
“Release of the audio recordings will also allow the public to consider and weigh what improvements, if any, should be made to law enforcement’s response to such incidents,” Superior Court Judge Eliot Prescott said.
“Delaying the release of the audio recordings, particularly where the legal justification to keep them confidential is lacking, only serves to fuel speculation about and undermine confidence in our law enforcement officials.”
(AP Photo: Members of the media pick up a cd containing recordings of 911 calls from the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, in Danbury, Conn.)