West Memphis dispatcher remembers call that changed her life - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

West Memphis dispatcher remembers call that changed her life forever

Sunday Shanks Sunday Shanks
Sunday Shanks and Officer Bill Evans Sunday Shanks and Officer Bill Evans

By Janice Broach - bio | email

WEST MEMPHIS, AR (WMC-TV) - In her first-ever interview, the fiancé of a West Memphis police officer killed last May is recounting the call that changed her life forever.

Sunday Shanks, a West Memphis Police Department dispatcher, was on-duty on May 20, 2010 - the day a man and his 16-year-old son shot and killed her fiancé, Officer Bill Evans.  Also killed was Officer Brandon Paudert, the son of West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert.

Evans, a ten-year veteran with the West Memphis Police, was running interstate interdiction that day.

"He said they were going to make a couple of more stops and they were going to come in," Shanks said.

But then, Evans pulled over a white van from Ohio with expired tags.

"It came back to a church van," Shanks said.

Everything was routine until Evans asked dispatchers for a history on the driver, Jerry Kane, a man with a long history of run-ins with police.

"I told him I had it and he didn't answer," Shanks said.

Jerry Kane's son, Joe, had just shot and killed her fiance.  Soon dispatchers started answering frantic calls.

"I kept calling him," Shanks said. "He wasn't answering."

There is no recording of Sunday and Bill's exchanges on that day because the two were using a channel that does not record.  Shanks is happy such recordings don't exist. But, you can hear Shank's panicked reaction in the background as another dispatcher talks on a different channel.

Very quickly, the four dispatchers on-duty, including a trainee who took the first call, realized it was real and very serious.

"It never crossed my mind it was going to be as bad as it was," Shanks said.

Shanks eventually went back to work in the same dispatch room, even though it is filled with terrible memories.

"For the first three months I was kind of sporadic coming to work," She said. "I couldn't do it and not hear him and Brandon."

Though coming back was hard, Shanks looks at her job differently.

"They're not just 'the guys' anymore," she said. "They have kids. They have Moms. They have families, and they have a home to go to everyday."

Shanks still thinks about her fiancé, Bill Evans, everyday.

"Bill was just the kind of guy everybody wanted to be around," she said. "He meant a lot to a lot of people."

And she thinks about the Kanes, who died in that dramatic shootout in the parking lot of the West Memphis Wal-Mart.

"They have no idea what they took," she said. "He had a family, you know? Brandon too."

"You want so bad to hate, you know?"

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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