Virginia Shooting Suvivior Vicki Gardner "Rolled Into A Ball" When The Gun Was Turned On Her, Her Husband Says
The husband of the sole survivor of the deadly attack on a WDBJ7 news team in Virginia released his first public comment on Friday, providing new insight on those fearful moments captured on live television. Speaking with The New York Times, Tim Gardner said his wife, WDBJ7 shooting survivor Vicki Gardner, was in good spirits two days after she underwent intensive surgery for a gunshot wound to her back. What she witnessed that Wednesday morning, however, is an unsettling scene that shows just how fortunate Gardner is to be alive.
Gardner, who serves as executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was being interviewed by WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker at the Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia, when former WDBJ7 reporter Vester Lee Flanagan quietly approached the scene. From a video posted to Flanagan's now-suspended Facebook page, it appears the 41-year-old ex-employee stood just a few feet behind cameraman Adam Ward when he raised his pistol, directly firing at Parker several times.
According to Tim Gardner, his wife quickly ducked when Flanagan turned his weapon on her. The gun, Tim Gardner said, was pointed directly at his wife's face.
"She must have just moved at the right time," Tim Gardner told The New York Times. "Then she rolled into a ball and tucked into a fetal position."
Flanagan reportedly fired several shots at Gardner before striking her in the back. After Flanagan fled the scene, Gardner laid still on the ground for about 10 minutes. Although she was seriously injured, Gardner was able to walk to the ambulance when it arrived on the scene, her husband said.
According to The New York Times, Gardner suffered pretty extensive damage to her internal organs — doctors removed part of her colon, and her intestines were also damaged. Fox News also reported that Gardner lost one of her kidneys.
Her husband added to Fox News in an on-air interview Friday that if the bullet hit Gardner's back at a different point, it could have severed her spine. "She was lucky the way she got shot," Tim Gardner said.
Unlike the father of Alison Parker, Tim Gardner did not make an appeal to tighten gun control laws in both Virginia and the United States. Instead, he directed the blame solely on Flanagan, who appeared to have a long history of mental instability. "[Flanagan] was determined and he was crazy," Tim Gardner told The New York Times. "He was going to kill her, and he waited until he was on air to do it that way. Place the blame on the individual and not with the tool he used."
Gardner's condition was updated to "good" on Thursday. Her recovery is expected to take several months.