Who Is Vicki Gardner? The Virginia TV Shooting Survivor Is A Champion For Her Community
Virginia journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward were fatally shot while on the air Wednesday morning, but there was a third victim who survived. Who is Vicki Gardner, the Virginia TV shooting survivor? Parker was interviewing Gardner at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake about an upcoming celebration for the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake's creation when the gunman began shooting at the news crew and then fled. Parker, a 24-year-old reporter, and Ward, a 27-year-old videographer, died at the scene, according to WDBJ7, and Gardner was rushed to the hospital for surgery. Chris Turnbull, a spokesman for Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, told The Roanoke Times Wednesday: "She is currently recovering and is in stable condition."
Gardner has been the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce since 2002, according to her LinkedIn, promoting business development and recreational attractions at the lake. Troy Keaton, president of the chamber’s executive board, told reporters, "She is an exceptional bright light in this community. We stand with her 100 percent and are praying for her and are thankful that she is in stable condition and is in good hands. We just want her to know and this community to know, as Vicki has been a champion for us for more than a decade ... We’re going to get together as a community and stay together and make it through this."
Elizabeth Hock, a former editor of Smith Mountain Lake's Laker Weekly, told The Roanoke Times that Gardner "is the face of Smith Mountain Lake" and answered any media question with "life is wonderful at Smith Mountain Lake." Gardner is also the vice president of the board of directors at Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital. According to her Facebook, she lives in Moneta, Virginia, but is originally from Union Springs, New York.
The alleged gunman, Vester L. Flanagan, died later Wednesday from a self-inflicted gun wound, according to WDBJ7. After an hours-long manhunt, police spotted him on the interstate. He refused to stop and ran off the road after shooting himself. He was taken to the hospital, where he died. Flanagan, 41, previously worked for WDBJ and appeared on air as Bryce Williams and had to be escorted out of the news station by police when he was fired. Videos of the shooting and angry comments about Parker and Ward were posted to Twitter and Facebook pages under the name Bryce Williams, but the accounts were soon shut down.
Images: WDBJ7 (1)