- Wendi Winters, 65, picked up a trash can and charged at the gunman who opened fire in the Capital Gazette newsroom on June 28, newsroom staff said.
- Her son, Phoenix Geimer, told the roughly 700 people who attended a memorial service on Saturday that Winters was “an American hero.”
- Winters along with five other colleagues were killed in the shooting. The gunman faces five counts of murder and is being held without bail.
One of the reporters who died June 28 in a shooting at the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland, ambushed the gunman with a trash can in an effort to save her colleagues, her son reportedly said at memorial service on Saturday.
Wendi Winters, 65, was one of five employees fatally shot that day. The alleged gunman, 38-year-old Jarrod Ramos, faces five counts of murder and is being held without bail.
The other Capital Gazette staffers who were killed included Rob Hiaasen, 59; Gerald Fischman, 61; John McNamara, 56; and Rebecca Smith, 34.
After the shooter blasted through the newsroom’s glass door and began opening fire, Winters picked up a trash can and a recycling bin and charged, Winters’ son Phoenix Geimer said.
“In an act of extraordinary courage, she gave her heart, and she gave her last breath, and she gave her final eight pints of blood to the defense of the free press and in defense of her family at the Capital,” Phoenix Geimer told the more than 700 service attendees, The Washington Post reported.
“She died fighting for what she believed in. My mom is an American hero, and we all have so much to live up to,” Geimer added.
Several of the staffers inside the newsroom during the shooting told the Capital Gazette in interviews that they believe Winters may have saved their lives.
“She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me, because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door,” Janel Cooley, a sales consultant with the newspaper who watched from under her desk as Winters confronted the shooter, told the Capital Gazette. “I’m sure he wasn’t expecting … anyone to charge him.”
“I absolutely think that Wendi Winters saved my life,” reporter Rachael Pacella also told the Capital Gazette.
Winters was remembered on Saturday as a prolific local reporter who often kept her subjects chatting long after interviews were supposed to be finished.
“I tried to think, ‘What is Wendi?’ and I settled on a redheaded whirlwind,” Capital Gazette editor Rick Hutzell told The Post. “And my job was to stand next to the whirlwind and hope it went in a direction that benefited the paper.”