Speed Reads


Capital Gazette reporters recall heroic colleague who charged the gunman, giving them time to hide

When a gunman opened fire on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette, in Annapolis, Maryland, last month, reporter Wendi Winters didn't hesitate, her colleagues say. The newspaper veteran charged the shooter with a trashcan and recycling bin shouting, "No! You stop that!" and "You get out of here!"

"I think that Wendi doing what she did served as enough of a distraction that maybe he didn't see us," said reporter Rachael Pacella, who was in the newsroom when the gunman, who had a longstanding grudge against the newspaper, opened fire, killing Winters and four others. "I absolutely think that Wendi Winters saved my life."

Just weeks before the attack, Winters, a 65-year-old mother of four, had attended active shooter training at her church, where she was taught "run if you can run, hide if you can hide, fight only if you must," the Capital Gazette reports. Her distraction gave three other members of the newsroom the time to respond, whether that meant hiding or hitting the floor.

"She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door," said sales consultant Janel Cooley.

The gunman killed five Capital Gazette employees; you can learn more about each of them here. Six of the 11 people in the newsroom survived, in part because of Winters' heroism; read her full story at the Capital Gazette.