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ETX man campaigns for 911 reform after daughter's murder - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

ETX man campaigns for 911 reform after daughter's murder

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MARSHALL, Tx. -

It's supposed to be as simple as dialing three numbers- 911- and you're immediately connected with emergency responders. Everyday millions of Americans, however, use multi-line telephone systems, primarily in their workplace that lack an effective 911 system.

For Hank Hunt and his wife DJ that extra step meant the difference between life and death for Hunt's daughter, Kari Dunn.

"Our grandchildren, they weren't used to staying in hotels," DJ Hunt said. "They didn't go to them so there was no reason for her to know to dial nine before 911. She did what she was taught."

Kari Dunn brought her three children to the Baymont Inn in Marshall Dec. 1 to visit her husband, Brad Allen Dunn, even though she was planning to divorce.

Hunt says Brad Dunn ambushed Kari in the hotel room, cornered her in the restroom and attacked her in front of the children.

Related article: ETX man charged with first degree murder in wife's death

Her eldest daughter dialed 911 four separate times but couldn't get through. She didn't dial 9 first for outside line.

At Caddo 911, Capt. Kathy Rushworth says dispatchers take about 250,000 calls per year, and this is not a new problem.

"On those internal phone systems, if you have to dial a 9 to get an outside line or to get a dial tone, you're going to have to dial that 9 to dial 911," Rushworth said. "It's going to actually be 9-911. I know that I've been in hotels before and other places where you actually had to dial an eight to get down, and sometimes it's really just best if you're at a hotel to just dial the operator. They know what room you're in. They know how to get the help."

The Hunts say when seconds count they don't want to redirect to operators or redial with a 9. They want the system to work the way it was intended. To fix the issue, the Hunts started an online petition and a campaign called Kari's Law.

"It was heart breaking," Hank Hunt told KTBS 3 News of the moment he heard about his granddaughter's unsuccessful attempts at dialing 911. "That's what prompted to start this. We both agreed that we'd do our best to see if we could get it changed so that would never happen to another 9-year-old girl."

The Hunts say their biggest ally may come from Federal Communications Commissioner Ajit Pai.

In a Jan. 13 letter Pai writes, "If you dial 911 in a large building, you need to reach someone qualified to help. And you should be able to do so: The technology to make that happen already exists."

Pai also outlined his intent to send letters to the ten largest US hotel chains asking some basic questions: What happens when a guest in one of your hotels dials 911 from a phone in his or her room? Does he or she reach trained emergency personnel? If not, what is your plan for solving this problem?

"There's so much outpouring of support from the community for this," DJ Hunt said. "We're getting a lot of 911 operators that are responding saying, 'Finally. This is something that needs to happen.'"

The Hunts say they don't know what's ahead. If changing 911 regulations is Kari's legacy it's a good one, but she will be remembered best as the mother to three great children.

Brad Dunn faces first degree murder charges related to Kari's death. His bond was set at $5 million dollars, with an additional $100,000 for an evading arrest charge out of Cass County.

Related links:

Kari's Law - Change.org

Change it for Kari - Facebook

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