Vicki Gardner, sole WDBJ shooting survivor, goes home

Sep 8, 2015 3:05 PM by News Staff, Photo: Facebook via WDBJ

Vicki Gardner, the sole survivor of a cold-blooded shooting live on air of a news crew in Virginia, has left the hospital and gone home finally, her family said Tuesday.

She had been in the hospital since August 26, when a bullet came within "centimeters" of taking her life, her husband, Tim Gardner, told CBS affiliate WDBJ in Roanoke.

Gardner had told WDBJ, whose reporter and cameraman where the victims of the attack, earlier that every day she wakes up to renewing strength and optimism.

Early on the morning of August 26, Gardner, an economic development official, was being interviewed live on air by reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward for a local tourism story at an outdoor shopping mall. Suddenly in the middle of the interview, shots rang out. Viewers saw Parker scream and run, and she could be heard saying "Oh my God," as she fell. Ward fell, too, and the camera he had been holding on his shoulder captured a fleeting image of the suspect holding a handgun.

WDBJ quickly switched back to the anchor at the station, her eyes large and jaw dropping as she said, "OK, not sure what happened there." The station later went live again, reporting on their own station and staff as the story developed.

Parker and Ward were killed as the gunman fired about 15 shots. Their interview subject, Vicki Gardner, was in stable condition later Wednesday after surgery for her wounds.

The gunman was Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, of Roanoke, who appeared on WDBJ as Bryce Williams, authorities said. He had been fired from the station in 2013. Hours later and hundreds of miles away, he ran off the road and a trooper found him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He died at a hospital later Wednesday.


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