Vicki Gardner was shot in the back as she tried to flee Vester Flanagan's deadly rampage

By Tara Fowler
Updated September 16, 2015 09:35 AM
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http://video.foxnews.com/v/embed.js?id=4487328069001&w=466&h=263Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.comVicki Gardner was sure Vester Flanagan was going to shoot her in the head.

The 62-year-old executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce was being interviewed live by WDBJ reporter Alison Parker on Aug. 26 when Flanagan, a disgruntled former employee of the station, opened fire on them.

She turned and fled, and was shot in the back. “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,” Gardner told Fox News‘ Greta Van Susteren in her first interview since the shooting.

The mother of two and grandmother of three was the attack’s sole survivor – Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, died from gunshot wounds to the head.

“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.’ ”

But that shot never came. Instead, Flanagan left, getting a head start on the authorities he knew would be pursuing him following the on-air shooting. He was found dead later that day of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after uploading two videos of the gruesome attack to various social media accounts.

“Our mom got very lucky,” Gardner’s older daughter Jacqui, 36, tells PEOPLE.

Gardner’s children still don’t understand why Flanagan attacked her, but they say that doesn’t matter. Adds Gardner’s younger daughter, Erin, 33: “We want her better. It’s about our mom getting better . We don’t need any more hate. We’re moving on with love from here on.”

Now, Gardner says she’s planning a tribute to Parker and Ward. “Vicki is sure there must be a reason why her life has been spared, and desires to use this blessing to more closely connect our communities around the lake and to share resources with one objective in mind: How to make the future of SML even better,” her husband, Tim, said in a statement last week.

Reporting by ALEXANDRA ROCKEY FLEMING

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