WILMINGTON — Logs from the New Hanover County 911 dispatch show that the man who killed Marine Corporal Edwin Estrada on Sunday called police to report the shooting.
New Hanover County dispatch, shooter calls 911.
The 911 recording redacted addresses, names and apparently some other identifying information, although the caller does identify himself as “a black male.” The caller addresses the dispatch operator calmly throughout the call and uses notably formal language.
The call was made just after 6:12 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, five minutes after ShotSpotter recorded two gunshots. Near the beginning of the recording, the caller said, “control this is (name redacted), I just used lethal force on an intruder on my business.”
The caller then noted he was uncertain if the “scene is secured,” adding that he planned to do a “preemptive preliminary security sweep to be sure if there’s somebody else around.”
When asked about the victim, the caller said he attempted to resuscitate Estrada but that the Marine was “definitely down.”
Asked to explain what happened, the caller said Estrada “was beating on my door, and I thought it was like this palm tree branch, and I went to open the door (deleted and unclear audio).”
The caller was then distracted by an attempt to flag down police units on neighboring Water and Grace streets, behind the building he referred to as his “business.” There is no further explanation of the shooting on the recording; it remains unclear if Estrada was armed, the caller does not mention the Marine having a weapon of any kind.
It should be noted that the address given earlier by the Wilmington Police Department – 273 N. Front St. – contains only one business, Front Street Optometric Care, run by Dr. Tiffany Jackson, who was not the person on the phone call. Jackson, a Caucasian female, added that her business was not open at the time. She said police had discouraged her from discussing the incident any further.
The caller described his location as the fenced-in rubble lot where the Water Street Parking Deck once stood. He offered to pull down a segment of fence to allow police access. He then reentered the building in an attempt to open the front door for police.
Dispatch asked the caller if he was still armed. The caller said only that his weapon was holstered. Dispatch then told the caller to remember to keep his hands visible.
“Oh believe me, I’m not trying to be the second person down tonight,” the caller said.
Recordings and logs of police communication as the incident provided little further information, as they were also redacted or otherwise edited. Along with a 911 call from a Water Street resident, the logs do confirm that at least two shots were fired.
According to the logs, at least one shot was fired west, which would have been facing out of the back door of the North Front Street address were the event took place. The two rounds, according to the records, were fired very close to each other at just before 6:07 a.m. on Sunday, November 19. Five minutes later, the call was made to 911.
The logs to contain one final detail, indicating the shooting which took Estrada’s life was likely a bloody one. Police communicated to the Fire Department that “they need a lot of bleach / HAZMAT.”
No further comment or information
The Wilmington Police Department declined to comment any further on the incident and would again not say who its ‘person of interest’ was, or if it was the caller who admitted to shooting Estrada.
According to Captain John P. Roberts, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is investigating the death of Estrada, but is playing a supporting role to local law enforcement.
NCIS Public Affairs Officer Ed Buice said “NCIS is assisting (WPD) in their investigation but since they have primary jurisdiction any comment will have to come from them.”
Send comments and tips to Benjamin Schachtman at firstname.lastname@example.org, @pcdben on Twitter, and (910) 538-2001.