The woman who survived a horrific massacre on live television last month feared the gunman would shoot her in the head, ending her life, she said in her first interview since the attack.
Virginia chamber of commerce official Vicki Gardner was being interviewed on a morning news program on WDBJ on Aug. 26 when disgruntled former employee Vester Lee Flanagan II, also known as Bryce Williams, ambushed reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, killing them. Gardner was shot in the back and lost a kidney.
"I was laying down. I realized it was quiet and everybody was down, and I didn't know where he was," Gardner told FOX News' Greta Van Susteren in her first public comments since the shooting. "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."
Even in the moments after Flanagan shot Gardner in the back, she still worried he would shoot her execution-style.
"I was waiting for him to shoot me in the head. When he shot me in the back, I said, 'I'm going to be paralyzed,' and then I waited," she said. "It goes real quick. Your world goes in front of you, and it did, real fast, and I said, 'I'm ready.'"
Gardner curled up in fetal position on the deck she had been standing on and tried to play dead.
"I didn't know how badly I was bleeding," she said. "I was just concentrating on being so still that he wouldn't shoot me again."
Flanagan, 41, didn't say a word, just kept shooting "rapid-fire all in this direction," she said. He killed himself hours after the attack at Smith Mountain Lake, southeast of Roanoke.
Gardner is planning a tribute to the two journalists who were killed.
"My heart just goes out to Alison and Adam. They're so young. Why save me and take them?" Gardner told Van Susteran. "Obviously there's a purpose, and by golly, I will fulfill it."