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911 call taker kept victim calm during tense White Center home invasion

WHITE CENTER, Wash. -- It was a situation that every 911 call taker trains for: a break-in in White Center that turned deadly after a homeowner shot and killed the suspect.

It was 2:30 in the morning and the victim was hiding in a closet for safety.

"Do they know you're there?" Zoe Birkbeck asked him during the 911 call.

"No, no, no," the man replied.

"Stay quiet.... Keep yourself safe," she said.

Investigators say the 35-year-old homeowner believed several intruders were making their way into his home from a backyard window. But we now know it was just one man, Joey Anderson, who the owner shot and killed in self defense.

After the April 22 incident, many praised Birkbeck for her cool demeanor and keeping the victim calm on the phone.

"I'm proud of myself for not freezing," she said. "If I had frozen, I don't know what could have happened."

Birkbeck had just finished her training three weeks before the incident, but it's likely a moment she'll remember for some time.

Now, her main concern is the homeowner and making sure he gets all the support he can after such a terrifying night.

"I just hope he's okay," she said. "I couldn't even imagine going through that situation myself."

King County is looking for more 911 call receivers. Pay starts at about $24 an hour.

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