Vicki Gardner tried to dodge bullets fired by Vester Lee Flanagan during her interview with WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker.

Vicki Gardner tried to dodge bullets fired by Vester Lee Flanagan during her interview with WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker. Photo: Linked In

Vester Lee Flanagan II fired 17 shots during his “well planned and pre-meditated” attack that took the lives of two television journalists in Virginia during a live broadcast, police said.

Vicki Gardner, who was being interviewed at the time of the attack, miraculously survived despite being fired at several times by Flanagan, her husband, Tim, said. 

Gardner, who was wounded in the back, stood face-to-face with the gunman before she tried to duck out of the way, her husband, Tim, said on Friday.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward, a reporter and cameraman for CBS Roanoke affiliate WDBJ-TV, died in the shooting

Alison Parker and Adam Ward, a reporter and cameraman for CBS Roanoke affiliate WDBJ-TV, died in the shooting

He said Gardner flinched and moved away before he fired a gun pointed directly at her face.

Flanagan missed “a couple of times” before finally shooting her in the back, Tim Gardner said.

“She must have just moved at the right time,” he said, “and then she rolled into a ball and tucked into a fetal position.”

Vester Flanagan's attack on a television reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast was well planned.

Vester Flanagan’s attack on a television reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast was well planned.

Vicki Gardner stayed on the ground for about 10 minutes until emergency workers arrived, he said, and was able to walk to an ambulance and call her husband on the way to the hospital where she underwent emergency surgery. Doctors removed part of her colon, and more operations are expected.

The broadcast showed the reporter, Alison Parker, 24, screaming and stumbling backward.

She died of “gunshot wounds of the head and chest” and the cameraman, Adam Ward, 27, died of “gunshot wounds of head and torso,” the state medical examiner said.

Flanagan, who had been fired by the television station about two years ago, then posted his own footage of the shooting to his social media accounts. He later killed himself after a police chase.

Tim Gardner said he had spoken with Parker’s father, Andy, who has vowed to fight for stricter gun controls. Gardner offered a different view, saying that Flanagan had been fixated on harming his former colleague.

“Whether it was a gun or machete or ax, it doesn’t make any difference,” he said. “He was determined, and he was crazy. 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.”

Flanagan left no indication of his final destination or actions, after unleashing the fusillade that killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward and then fleeing, according to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. He shot himself after authorities later caught up to him.

Flanagan also closely identified with perpetrators of acts of domestic mass murder and the September 11 attacks, but acted alone and did not appear to share his plans with anyone, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The fresh details emerged on Friday after authorities combed through documents and evidence recovered from his Roanoke apartment and interviewed family, friends and former colleagues about the slayings.

Flanagan, a disgruntled former WDBJ reporter, opened fire on Parker, Ward and an official from a Roanoke area chamber of commerce they were interviewing around 6:45 am on Wednesday during a morning TV broadcast. The journalists died on the scene and the official, Vicki Gardner, was rushed to the hospital, where she is recovering.

A newly returned search warrant for Flanagan’s apartment reveals an associate producer from WDBJ initially identified Flanagan as the shooter shortly after the attack. Authorities recovered black gloves, documents, written notes, printed pictures and vehicle keys from the apartment.

Washington Post and New York Times