Nearly an hour after Thursday's office shooting, Perinne McVey was slumped over her desk, a bullet wound to the neck.
The telephone rang and rang.
Finally, McVey picked up. It was Sgt. Raymond Fleming of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
"Please help me," McVey, 38, said.
She was breathless, her voice hoarse, her speech slurred. She couldn't move.
"Are you shot?"
"Yes," McVey said, her voice trailing off.
Her boss, Tracy Sells, lay dead at his desk. On the floor behind McVey was the shooter, James A. Webb.
On the phone, McVey vomited and passed out. Fleming dialed again but got voice mail. He talked to her two or three more times, trying to keep her awake. Fleming wanted to know if the shooter was still inside. But McVey was fading.
Deputies stormed the building and found McVey in a front office.
McVey, the office manager, remained in serious condition Friday at Bayfront Medical Center.
A day after the shooting that left two people dead and one injured at ERA Professional Realtors, details continued to emerge.
He left some unharmed
Angela Bates, 25, was sitting at the reception desk when Webb walked in at 2:35 p.m. ERA co-owner George Chiarenza was standing in front of the reception desk.
"Hey, guys," Webb said.
Webb, 56, said he was going to his girlfriend's back office to retrieve her insulin. Zelma Kougl, 65, his love of 20 years, recently had been fired from her job as office manager and wasn't in the business at the time.
He walked around the U-shaped office and into the front office, where co-owner Sells, 42, Kougl's replacement McVey and mortgage broker Richard Lane were sitting.
Webb asked Lane to leave and slammed the door. Witnesses said Webb cursed and shouted at Sells and McVey.
Hearing the commotion, Chiarenza went to the office and pushed the door open. Webb pointed a gun in Chiarenza's face and told him to leave.
"You're safe," Webb told him. "Now get the f--- out of here."
The door slammed again.
"As soon as the door slammed, it was, "No, no, no,' " Chiarenza said, recalling the cries from the workers. "And then the shots _ four to five shots."
Authorities said Webb shot Sells in the head and then turned the gun on McVey before fatally shooting himself.
Chiarenza and several other employees fled the building. Chiarenza dialed 911 at about 2:40 p.m. and then called Kougl. He told her Webb had shot people in the office.
"She acted very surprised," Chiarenza, 61, said. "She said he was on the way to the VA and was going to come back in 20 minutes."
Chiarenza asked Kougl if she knew Webb had a gun. Kougl said he had a .22-caliber handgun.
No time for SWAT team
Pinellas County sheriff's deputies arrived at 2:42 p.m.
Lt. Michael Platt said deputies only knew that shots had been fired inside the building. No one knew whether Webb was still inside, or even if he was alive.
At 2:58 p.m., a sergeant on scene dialed the telephone number of the real estate office displayed on the glass window.
McVey, who had been shot at least twice, answered.
"Are you shot?" Sgt. Tom Mevers asked.
"Yes," McVey said, her voice weak.
Mevers asked her if the shooter was still in the building. She said he wasn't, when, in fact, he was lying dead behind her. The gun was next to his body.
"She's in enough shock that the shooter was lying right behind her, and she doesn't know this," Platt said.
McVey passed out on the telephone.
Deputies called back two or three more times, trying to stay on the phone to keep her alive. But McVey was so disoriented, they couldn't get much information.
"It was very evident that we were going to lose her," Platt said. "She was injured beyond our ability to wait."
Deputies didn't wait for the SWAT team. They opened the door and ignited a "flash bang" device, which emits a loud bang meant to distract a suspect.
They got to McVey at about 3:30 p.m. She was flown to the hospital.
"My problem now," Chiarenza said, "is just the guilt trip of what I could have done."
_ Times researcher Cathy Wos contributed to this report. Leanora Minai can be reached at minaisptimes.com or (727) 893-8406.
1. JAMES WEBB enters the building
2. Webb meets ANGELA BATES, the receptionist, and tells her that he is going to Zelma Kougl's office to retrieve her insulin.
GEORGE CHIARENZA, co-owner of business, is standing with Bates at the reception desk when Webb enters.
3. WEBB continues past Kougl's office and through the building.
INSIDE THE OFFICE:
4. WEBB enters the office. PERRINE, McVEY, TRACY SELLS and RICK LANE are inside. Webb tells Lane to leave, and he does.
Webb begins yelling at McVey and Sells. Chiarenza hears the yelling and enters the room. Webb points a gun at Chiarenza and tells him to leave.
Webb shoots Sells in the head, then shoots McVey, then shoots himself.
Chiarenza dials 911 and then calls Kougl.