City dispatcher honored

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 5/18/2023, 6 p.m.
Ashley Marlow has been honored for helping a 911 caller cope with an armed man on her front porch in ...
Ashley Marlow and Alexis Wilber Photo courtesy of Richmond Department of Emergency Communications

Ashley Marlow has been honored for helping a 911 caller cope with an armed man on her front porch in Richmond.

Ms. Marlow, a city emergency communications officer, was recognized May 9 with the award for individual performance in a critical incident by the Virginia Association of Public Safety Communications’ Officials.

This is the first statewide award to be presented to a staff member of the Richmond Department of Emergency Communications, Preparedness and Response, department spokeswoman Karen Gill noted.

“The exceptional caring and professionalism, combined with quick thinking, that ECO Marlow displayed in this incident is in large part responsible for this Richmond resident staying safe,” Stephen Willoughby, department director, stated.

The award cites Ms. Marlow for providing support for 37 minutes to Alexis Wilber, a Fulton resident, as she hid in her home and waited for police to get there.

“It was scary and intimidating,” Ms. Wilber said of the encounter about 10:15 p.m. March 6, 2022.

She expressed gratitude for Ms. Marlow’s reassuring words and explanation of what was happening outside as the dispatcher also relayed information to arriving officers.

Ms. Wilber said she discovered the man on her porch after she returned home and sought to determine why the front porch light was not working.

She recounted that she was able to shut the front door, dial 911 and hide in a corner.

The stranger, later identified as Carlton Epps of Henrico, remained on the porch and was fatally shot after he refused to drop his gun and surrender, Richmond Police reported at the time.

“It was so surreal ... like something out of a movie,” Ms. Marlow said of the incident. “I was thinking of all of the things that could have gone wrong and hoping the caller would be OK.”