On-Air Shooting Survivor: I Played Dead

Vicki Gardner gives her first interview
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2015 11:04 AM CDT

Vicki Gardner, the sole survivor of the WDBJ7 on-air shootings last month, gave her first interview to Greta Van Susteren on Fox News last night. "It was just very, very fast. And I saw movement. And then gunfire. Lots and lots of gunfire. From that point, it was very chaotic," said Gardner, the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce. "The only thing I could think of was play dead," she added, per the Washington Post. "I just fell to the ground as though I had been hit and went into fetal position," she said, but the gunman "did come back up and shot me in the back." As she lay there assuming the bullet had gone through her spine and would paralyze her, "I was just concentrating on being so still that he wouldn’t shoot me again," she said.

Horrifyingly, Gardner's husband Tim saw the whole thing unfold on live TV, he told Van Susteren. "I knew exactly what had happened. I heard the gunshots and saw the expression on her face," he said. "And then the next 15 minutes was a really tough 15 minutes," until his wife called him from the ambulance. "I have to tell you, those are some of the best words I've ever heard," he says (he'd earlier described his wife's account of the shooting.) Gardner, 61, said she feels awful for the families of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Wade, who were killed. "Why save me and take them?" she asks. "But obviously, there's a purpose. And by golly, I will fulfill it." (More shooting stories.)

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