Today marked ten years since a gunman walked into Von Maur at Westroads Mall and killed eight people, injured four and then turned the gun on himself. In the days and weeks to follow, the community came together to honor the victims and try to come to grips with such a senseless tragedy.
On this anniversary, we remember the victims. Six were employees of the store: Janet Jorgensen, Maggie Webb, Angie Schuster, Dianne Trent, Gary Joy and Beverly Flynn. Two customers also lost their lives, Gary Scharf and John McDonald. Micky Oldham was shot that day. She never fully recovered physically from her injuries. She died in 2016.
Fred Wilson worked in the Customer Service Department and remembers hiding behind the gift wrap counter when he heard the gunfire. He looked up and saw a person on the third floor. He wondered why the man in front of him was not hiding. The gunman then shot him in the arm.
"They always said I had lost so much blood there was no more blood to bleed--that if the ambulance had gone another block one way or another or the paramedics had not worked wonders at the store, I probably would not have made it." First responders recently spoke to 3 News Now about their memories from that day.
Wilson has little use of his hand, but he returned to work at Von Maur seven months after the shooting. He says he loves the employees and customers. He has since retired.
Wilson says he remembers waking up in his hospital bed in 2007, thankful to be alive and aware others were not so fortunate. "That God would expect me to make a difference, no matter how small."
Wilson has taken part in community blood drives and he speaks to students about forgiveness. He says he forgave the shooter almost immediately, "to lessen the load that comes with being angry that comes with hatred and being filled with vengeance."
He reminds people about how fleeting time is and how fragile life can be. "We just go about our living expecting to have tomorrow, expecting to have forever, when, in fact, we have only today." But Wilson says he always has hope for tomorrow.