Broadcast over police radio Friday morning, the call for help was harrowing.

"I'm shot in the face! I'm shot in the face!" Folcroft Police Officer Christopher Dorman shouted as gunfire boomed in the background. "I'm shot! I'm shot! I'm shot!"

Yet miles away in Delaware County's 911 center, no dispatcher heard him.

For four minutes on Friday morning, a computer responsible for handling all emergency calls for the Folcroft area crashed, leaving Dorman and responding officers without an essential lifeline. As officers tried to alert dispatchers that Dorman had been shot seven times - including once in the face through both cheeks - they heard nothing but silence in return.

"Officer Dorman jumped in my passenger seat, and I tried to call the radio room to tell them I was en route to the hospital," said Folcroft Sgt. Bill Bair, who arrived at the scene shortly after Dorman was shot. "No one responded."

Delaware County's Emergency Services Center in Middletown serves as a central hub for 911 calls. Recently upgraded at a cost to the county of $800,000, the system consists of 16 computers and a team of dispatchers who keep tabs on police, fire, and ambulance activity, and direct first responders to emergencies.

When those lines of communication are down, dispatchers have no way of knowing what is happening to officers and cannot assist them.

"In this situation, four minutes [without communication] is really like four hours," said Mario Civera Jr., chairman of the Delaware County Council.

On Monday afternoon, Dorman, 25, was released from the hospital after a series of surgeries over the weekend. Greeted by more than 150 first responders and county officials, Dorman was escorted to his home in Folcroft by a fleet of officers as bystanders clapped and cheered. On social media, the phrase #Dormanthedelcolegend circulated widely.

Just three days earlier, four minutes had dramatically changed Dorman's life.

On Friday at 9:56 a.m., the 911 center received a call from a resident reporting an alleged drug deal on the 1500 block of Elmwood Avenue in Folcroft. Dorman, who worked part-time and had decided to pick up an extra shift that morning, responded to the call.

By 9:58 a.m., all communication had been dropped, unbeknownst to Dorman or his dispatcher, as a computer in the 911 center rebooted itself.

That's when, officials say, Dorman encountered Donte Brooks Island, a 33-year-old Folcroft man who had just been released from a 15-year sentence in federal prison. Allegedly dealing drugs and smoking marijuana, Island scuffled with Dorman before pulling out a .40-caliber gun and firing it at the officer, striking him seven times - once in Dorman's face, once in his groin, once in a leg, and four times in the chest. He was saved, officials said, by a bulletproof vest.

"The radio room didn't know anything was going on," Bair said. "They thought everything was quiet."

Though dispatchers could not hear Dorman on the radio, nearby officers tuning in could, so Bair and another officer responded. When they did, Island fired at them and fled, igniting a three-hour manhunt that drew more than 200 officers to the tiny Delaware County block.

By 10:02 a.m., the computer system was back up and communication in the dispatch center was restored. Around that time, Civera said, other dispatchers in the center had begun to hear police chatter across the region about Dorman's incident, and began coordinating a response to track down Island.

The technology glitch comes just six weeks after Delaware County officials installed the new 911 system. For a malfunction to occur so soon - and at such an expense - Civera said, is "absolutely disappointing."

Civera said the county on Monday enlisted a forensic investigator to assess the malfunction.

"We're investigating so this doesn't happen again," Civera said.

By Monday afternoon, numerous fund-raising campaigns - including a page hosted by GoFundMe and a separate effort by Acme Markets - emerged to benefit Dorman.

"Thank God he's alive," said Folcroft Police Chief Robert Ruskowski outside Penn Presbyterian Medical Center shortly before the officer's release. "It's hard to believe from Friday to Monday."

Island was being held Monday in the county prison after being arraigned Friday on multiple counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault.

"If we have our way ... he will never see the light of day again," Delaware County District Attorney John J. Whelan said Friday. "This is a callous individual."

cmccabe@philly.com

610-313-8113 @mccabe_caitlin