No stranger to breaking news, the well-known local TV anchor was in the right place at the right time to help a neighbor in need
Bob Frier has spent countless moments of his life reporting breaking news, focusing on the job at hand, and ignoring the chaos around him. Little did he know how important that training would be when he became part of a breaking-news story, himself.
Bob and his daughter, Lucie, were in their Fountain Parke neighborhood driveway in Lake Mary on a sunny Saturday morning this past May with Tucker, the family’s beloved Labrador Retriever. They were filling a kiddie pool with water so the pup could splash around and cool off after a hot and humid morning walk.
Suddenly, Bob and Lucie heard popping noises in the area, but they assumed the sounds were coming from a nearby construction site. Then, a woman in workout clothes came around the corner and approached them with a dazed look on her face.
“I thought she looked tired,” Bob remembers, “like maybe she was going to pass out.”
Bob asked the woman if she was OK.
“Call 911!” she replied. “He shot me.”
The woman then fell toward Bob and into his arms. Bob was able to keep his cool even as he saw that the woman’s legs were bloodied.
“I thought, ‘Oh God, this is real,’” he says.
He directed Lucie to take the dog and go inside the house.
“Lock the door and call 911,” Bob yelled.
As the woman explained that her boyfriend had shot her, Bob noticed she was trying to remove an exercise weight belt from around her waist.
“I thought it must have been making her uncomfortable,” Bob says, so he helped her take it off.
But when the belt fell away, Bob realized the gravity of the situation: The woman had a “massive hole in her sternum,” he says.
He grabbed a towel, propped the stranger’s head onto his arm, and held the towel over her bleeding wound. She looked up into Bob’s face. “I am going to die,” she said.
“You’re not going to die,” Bob replied. “I know you’re not going to die. Tell me your name. My name is Bob. You’re going to be fine.”
“I remember thinking how happy I was for her that Bob was out there with her,” says Bob’s wife, Karen. “I knew he would take care of her and calm her as much as he could. Bob is a good man in a stressful situation. I was absolutely worried for his safety, but I knew he wouldn’t have it any other way. She needed him, and he was going to be there for her.”
When Bob talked to the 911 dispatcher, he was dismayed to hear that the ambulances could not enter his neighborhood because the woman’s shooter was still at-large nearby. He was worried that help might come too late.
“She was still speaking to me, but she was starting to fade,” Bob says.
The dispatcher instructed Bob to seek shelter, reminding him that the shooter was close. But by that moment, Bob recalls, the point was moot.
“I wasn’t thinking about the guy who was wandering around our neighborhood with a gun,” he says. “I was thinking about the woman who was right there in front of me with a gunshot wound.”
Bob says it was at that moment his experience in breaking news really kicked in.
“I thought to myself, ‘OK, handle what’s right in front of you,’” he says. “That’s how you do breaking news: you just handle the next thing, and you don’t think too far ahead.”
As it turned out, Bob and the woman got lucky – the shooter turned right instead of left, and instead of catching Bob by surprise, he was caught by police near the entrance of the neighborhood. Help finally arrived. The victim nearly died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, and has since endured several surgeries, but she is expected to make a full recovery.
In June, the Lake Mary Police Department honored Bob for his actions. It was at the ceremony where Bob and his neighbor saw each other again for the first time since that Saturday morning when he held her head in his arm and assured her she was not going to die.
“We both started crying,” Bob says. “I didn’t think I had been impacted by that day emotionally, but to see someone alive who would not have been alive had I not been there – it meant a lot.”
Today, Karen says she can hardly believe the ordeal even happened.
“But every time I walk across the spot where they were, I think of the woman and the way Bob helped her,” she says.
Bob stresses that although he was, in essence, his neighbor’s first responder, his actions were limited to keeping her calm and calling for medical attention, not something as skilled as CPR. But he recognizes that what happened that day in his driveway is a reminder of the importance of community and human connection.
“We’re all here for each other,” says Bob. “We have to be. I think there’s a Biblical phrase that says we all should ‘be of service’ to one another. When she came to me and asked, ‘Am I going to die?’ and I told her no, I knew no matter what happened, I was never going to leave her there alone.”
Want More Information?