Lone Survivor Of Vengeful Ex-Reporter’s Live, On-Air Murder Spree Speaks Out For The First Time

The lone survivor of former WDBJ reporter Vester Flanagan executing his ex-coworkers on-air during a live interview on Aug. 26, in Moneta, Virginia, is speaking out for the first time since the incident and shared her story Tuesday night with local Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.

Videos quickly spread across social media the morning of Aug. 26 showing 24-year-old Alison Parker being gunned down on coworker and cameraman, 27-year-old Adam Ward’s, own camera, until viewers heard further gunfire and saw the camera fall to the ground. Not long after, edited videos began to surface slowing down Ward’s footage and highlighting a single moment where the shooter, Flanagan, is visible.

According to survivor and Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce executive director Vicki Gardner, the interviewee that morning, Flanagan never said a thing. Readers who may have had the stomach to view the GoPro footage Flanagan created of the shooting and uploaded to social media before ultimately killing himself at the end of a failed car chase will know Gardner’s testament to be true. Flanagan never said anything, even as he took his time aiming his weapon in a disturbingly deliberate pregnant pause before opening fire.

Gardner said just prior to the shooting she was largely focused on the interview, but did notice some kind of motion further down the walkway with her peripheral vision. She said, “I just saw movement and then gunfire. Lots and lots of gunfire. From that point it was very chaotic.”

One can only imagine the horror of trying to know which way to run to save your own life without knowing who the shooter is, what their agenda may be and why. Gardner was not a target that day, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Apparently Flanagan wanted no survivors and no witnesses so his social media ploy of releasing his own video of the executions would get full attention. To some degree, Flanagan was successful, in that his video was shared widely at first, but once it became clearer what transpired that morning, most media outlets with and tact and respect quickly removed the video from their pages.

Without a doubt, Gardner believed she was as good as dead, herself, but she got lucky, played her cards just right, and survived. She told Fox News, “I realized it was quiet and everybody was down. And I didn’t know where [Flanagan] was. I felt as though the next shot – I knew — the next shot he was just going to shoot me in the head because that was what he was doing.”

But after the first few shots, Gardner plopped to the ground and curled into a ball, playing dead in the hopes she’d make it through. She said Flanagan was deathly silent as he moved about shooting Parker and Ward further. Then he came back and shot Gardner in the back. She told Van Susteren, “Had I continued to stand, I would not be here talking to you.”

At the time, Gardner was convinced the shot had pierced her spine and that she’d be paralyzed. Instead, she lost a kidney and a portion of her colon. Roanoke Hospital released her on Sept. 7. Gardner says, “I’m happy to be here.”

Astonishingly, Gardner has had the courage to watch the video footage from that day, but she said she’s not ready to actually return to the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor Center where it all took place in person yet. She reflected on that day, “Why save me and take them?” She continued, “But obviously there’s a purpose – and by golly I will fulfill it.”

It was only just this past Monday that Alison Parker’s fiancé, Chris Durst, returned to work at WDBJ, himself, where he works as an anchor. He wore a tie Parker gave him for Valentine’s Day to mark the occasion in her honor.

Durst stated, “I know the answer to what we all must do — it is to profess love, not hate.”

It’s hard to know what to do about rampant gun violence, poor mental health systems in place, lack of funding for useful programs from A to Z and that old American bear, racism. They’re enormous issues. But if you boil it down enough to the simplicity of one word, then “love” is certainly one of the top contenders for fixing all of that.

Here’s to ending the violence, America. With enough love, surely it can be done.

Featured image via Facebook