Vicki Gardner, the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was being interviewed on-air by Alison Parker when the on-air shooting occurred. She survived the devastation that left two journalists, WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, dead. She gave her husband, Tim Gardner, the harrowing account of the day that will, unfortunately, probably be etched forever in her memory.
The alleged gunman, Vester Lee Flanagan (also known professionally as Bryce Williams), shot at her three times. Tim Garner stated the following, recounting his wife’s tale from the horrific shooting, according to ABC News, Channel 6.
“Then he shot three times at my wife, and she was trying to dodge everything. He missed twice, and then she dove to the ground and curled up in a ball, and that’s when he shot her in the back….She’s slowly becoming aware of how much attention it’s getting. She’s just well, she’s just a little torn up about things at the moment.”
After shooting the three victims, Flanagan left the area. At that point, Vicki Gardner got up, despite her injuries, and walked to the ambulance that had arrived at the crime scene. She was not aware of the extent of her injuries at the time. Vicki Gardner later had a kidney and part of her colon removed. She is expected to make a recovery. Tim Gardner stated the following about her frightening encounter, according to KTIC 840 Rural Radio.
“I don’t think she ever felt like she was in danger after she got up and walked to the ambulance after being shot, but she didn’t know the extent of her injuries at that point, but the surgeon told me that a couple of centimeters and she wouldn’t be walking and a couple of centimeters more and she wouldn’t be alive.”
According to a search warrant, Flanagan sent a text message to a friend “making reference to having done something stupid.” Flanagan fled police in pursuit on I-66. When a trooper approached the Chevrolet Sonic car, he found that Flanagan had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. After being airlifted to a nearby hospital, he died after arrival. A number of items were found in the car. A Glock pistol with six ammunition magazines and ammunition for a 9mm weapon were found. A briefcase contained a wig, shawl, a pair of sunglasses, an umbrella, and three different license plates. It’s unclear specifically what Flanagan intended to do with the items in the briefcase.
[Photo By Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]