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Capital Gazette Reporter Recounts How Fellow Reporter Saved His Life with Trash Can

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Capital Gazette employees reflected on a colleague Saturday who reportedly charged the shooter, buying others time with her sacrifice.

Reporter Wendi Winters reportedly charged shooting suspect Jarrod Ramos with a recycling bin and trash can during the June 28 attack, The Capital Gazette reported.

She had learned at an active shooter training hosted by her church that running and hiding were preferable to fighting assailants.

“She may have distracted him enough that he forgot about me, because I definitely stood up and was looking at the door,” Gazette sales consultant Janel Cooley said. “I’m sure he wasn’t expecting … anyone to charge him.”

The 65-year-old Winters yelled something along the lines of “you get out of here!” or “no! You stop that!” at the shooter, according to Cooley.

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“I think that Wendi doing what she did served as enough of a distraction that maybe he didn’t see us,” fellow Gazette reporter Rachael Pacella said. “I absolutely think that Wendi Winters saved my life.”


Winters had once given Pacella the shirt she was wearing when her colleague had a big interview but had spilled gasoline on her own clothing.

Winters also asked Gazette photographer Paul Gillespie how he was doing frequently after the death of Gillespie’s brother.

Do you think active shooter preparedness should be necessary training for employees?

Gazette intern Anthony Messenger said the slain reporter put in effort to make him feel comfortable at the office, according to the report.

Pacella, Messenger, and reporter Phil Davis hid or got out of the line of fire during the time they say the 16-year Gazette employee Winters bought them.

“It sounds like her,” Winters’ son, Phoenix Geimer, said regarding his mother’s apparent actions during the attack. “She’s got four kids, she’s not going to take it from anyone.”

Anne Arundel County Police Lt. Ryan Frashure declined to speak about Winters’ role during the pending investigation into the shooting.

The shooter killed Winters, along with four others who were in the 11-man newsroom on June 28.

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