Capital Survivors: There Was a Hero at the Shooting

Wendi Winters charged the gunman, armed only with a recycling bin and garbage can
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2018 7:05 AM CDT
Capital Survivors: There Was a Hero at the Shooting
Summerleigh Geimer and Montana Geimer, daughters of Wendi Winters, gather for a candlelight vigil near the Capital Gazette newspaper offices in Annapolis, Md., Friday, June 29, 2018.   (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

When the glass door shattered and shots rang out, most of the 11 people in the Capital Gazette's newsroom very understandably hit the decks. Wendi Winters did not, crying out "No!" and charging the gunman—and likely buying enough time to save their lives, survivors of the shooting now tell their newspaper. "She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door," sales consultant Janel Cooley said. "I’m sure he wasn’t expecting … anyone to charge him." Winters, a 20-year newspaper veteran, was fresh off active shooter training, in which participants are instructed to run, hide, and fight only if you must. "I absolutely think that Wendi Winters saved my life," reporter Rachel Pacella adds.

Winters was laid to rest on Saturday, reports the Baltimore Sun, remembered as a force of nature both as a tenacious reporter and in her final moments. "On Thursday, June 28, my mom picked up a trash can and a recycling bin," Winters' son, Phoenix Geimer, said at her memorial. "She charged at the coward who shot her in the chest as she rushed him, slowing him down and giving the police time to arrive …. She gave her heart, her last breath and her final eight pints of blood in defense of a free press and of her family at the Capital." Not one of Winters' children was surprised by her actions, with Geimer saying, "She’s got four kids—she’s not going to take it from anyone." Daughter Winters Geimer recounted a robber attempting to hold up the store where her 6-foot-tall mother worked as a college student. "She grabbed him from behind, picked him up and shook him, and held him until police arrived." More on Winters here and here. (Read more Capital Gazette shooting stories.)

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