Wednesday was a thankfully calm day for the staff at WSOC Charlotte, just a day after a distraught woman entered the station building and pointed a gun at her head. Wednesday featured multiple meetings with parent company Cox Media Group related to improving station security, along with one-on-one visits with counselors and staff meetings run by President/General Manager Joe Pomilla addressing employees' concerns and anxieties.
"We're working with our corporate security folks to help develop different procedures," says Pomilla. "The biggest takeaway from this is disseminating information to staff quickly and efficiently."
WSOC staffers were alerted via email that a woman had entered the building with a gun, and evacuated the building safely.
The woman, Wendy Cosby Naidas, initially said she had something to drop off for a WSOC staffer. She gained entry to the lobby by pulling a gun out and pointed it to her head. A building security guard sat the woman down and tried to get her to relax. Another set of locked doors separated the woman from the rest of the staff.
The gun was not loaded, reported the AP. It became obvious that the woman was seeking help for financial difficulties.
"She came to us hoping we could help her get help," says Pomilla. "Obviously the approach she took was all wrong."
The station's receptionist snuck out and alerted fellow staffers, and WSOC VP of operations Dave Siegler called the police. The station was off the air for a spell.
No one was hurt in the incident, and Cosby Naidas was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation.
WSOC's Action News brand runs segments focused on helping wronged people find justice; that may have figured into the woman's decision to seek out WSOC, said Pomilla.
A day later, it was back to work for the shaken but resolute WSOC staffers. "The folks are doing extremely well," says Pomilla. "The good news is, the security worked."
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