SAN ANTONIO – A Bexar County dispatcher is being recognized for her part in saving a baby girl’s life in a recent murder-suicide in west Bexar County.
“He had just committed a murder and was then going to kill himself. He indicated to the dispatcher that there was a baby inside the house as well that was unharmed,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said about the suspect.
It was a shocking and horrific crime, one that rattled Sheriff Salazar.
“There were some pretty grave, grave injuries -- I mean, among the worst I’ve ever seen,” Salazar said.
BCSO officials said Kevin Lam stabbed Thy Nguyen to death in front of a baby before turning the knife on himself when deputies arrived.
It all happened inside of the Esperanza Apartments complex off Potranco Road late last month.
“Obviously a very volatile situation, and the dispatcher did their best to keep him talking, keep him on the phone, and pleaded with him.,” Salazar said.
That dispatcher is Stacy Nielsen, a mother of two.
“Yeah, that was that was not the easiest thing to listen to,” Nielsen said.
For five years, Nielsen has worked as a public safety dispatcher here in Bexar County, handling calls as they come in and getting law enforcement where they need to go.
“We’re either on the phone sometimes or handling a tac channel with a critical incident. And then we have our primary channel. It’s a lot of juggling,” Nielsen said.
Nielsen moved fast after the suspect told her he had a knife and a baby girl was inside the apartment.
“Given the details that we do know, it was incredibly important for me to get them there as quickly as possible,” Nielsen said.
Her actions had deputies there in three minutes.
It’s a job Nielsen doesn’t take for granted, and it’s one she didn’t think she’d be doing until five years ago.
“My girls and I were living in Maryland, and we were in a domestic violence situation,” Nielsen said.
Her experience in needing someone to step in during a crisis changed her life completely.
“I wanted to help other people who had been through similar situations like me. So that’s why I chose to become a dispatcher,” Nielsen said.
It allows her to pay it forward every day.
“These dispatchers go through everything that we go through. They are absolutely first responders. They’re there with us,” Sheriff Salazar said.
Along with saving lives, Nielsen is also helping protect the mental health of first responders. She is on a peer counseling team, so she can meet with other dispatchers and deputies and their families if they’re in crisis.
Training to become a dispatcher takes anywhere from six months to a year. There’s always a need for more dispatchers, BCSO says.
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