There are two kinds of people in the world: those that respond to stress with panic and a fight-or-flight response, and those who…don’t. No one really knows what causes some people to respond to life-or-death situations with cool detachment, or how some soldiers, emergency workers and leaders slip into that state of purposeful, Zen-like calm when everyone else around them loses it. But we have a theory…and we call it “love.“
The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s office of Longview, Washington responded to an emergency call placed by a 10-year-old girl this last Wednesday. The call came from the girl’s home on 244 Niemi Road, where her 27-year-old mother’s estranged husband Miguel Milan was in the process of killing his soon-to-be ex-wife, and then himself.
Milan reportedly entered the home, and got into an argument with Chante Marie Milan. During the course of the argument, Miguel pulled out a small, .22-caliber gun and pointed it at his wife. He shot his wife once in the back likely as she turned to flee. She made it to the bathroom.
Immediately after shooting his wife, Miguel went to another upstairs room, out of sight of the children and his bleeding wife. He pressed the gun to his own chest, and shot himself through the heart.
Elsewhere in the house, a 10-year-old girl was already on the phone with 9-1-1 dispatch. She told them:
“My Dad’s shooting my Mom right now.”
Below, you can hear the 9-1-1 call, released by the police on Friday as they praised the girl for her calm. During the nearly 20-minute call, the girl calmly provides the dispatcher with information, including the fact that her father has a gun that he’s “not supposed to have.” She continues relaying information when she’s not engaged in more pressing business.
In the background, you can hear crying…possibly her siblings or mother. Her mother says she’s having trouble breathing, and her daughter coolly relays the information to the dispatcher. Throughout, she does her best to comfort and console her mother.
“Drink water, Mom…you’re OK.”
When police arrived, they searched the house for Miguel, assuming him to be alive and lying in wait. They found him dead on arrival. Chante Milan was rushed to Portland Hospital, where emergency workers declared her injuries non-life-threatening. Miguel Milan was the sole casualty.
In The Last Unicorn, author Peter S. Beagle said “Great heroes need great sorrows or burdens, or half their greatness goes unnoticed.” Maybe the measure of a hero isn’t how they deal with their own burdens, but how they handle the sorrows of others. Nobody knows why some people remain that rock, remain that vital, steady presence when all steadiness fails and chaos rules world around them. But we say:
“Because they have to…for love.”
You can listen to the horrifying 9-1-1 call HERE. WARNING: The audio starts automatically, so turn your speakers down before clicking. The audio is also extremely disturbing and NSFW or around children.