The real estate community is rallying to raise money for a longtime Mississippi real estate agent who was shot four times during a triple-shooting Thursday that left a homeowner dead in Wiggins, Miss.
Dottie Lanier, a 27-year real estate veteran who worked for the Wiggins office of Prudential Gardner, Realtors, this morning was moved out of an intensive care unit at Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg, Miss., said Rick Haase, general manager for the Metairie, La.-based real estate company.
Haase said he visited Lanier, 70, following the shooting. “She’s able to talk. I spoke with her in her hospital room.” Prudential Gardner is helping to raise money to support Lanier’s recovery, and Lanier’s office has set up several accounts through which people can contribute.
The alleged gunman, Gregory Glen Ferguson, 48, may have posed as a home buyer to gain access to the home where the shooting occurred, according to news reports. Ferguson was arrested Friday and is being held on a $1.5 million bond at Stone County Jail on charges of murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Lanier was reportedly awaiting the arrival of a prospective home buyer at a for-sale home on Colville Street in Wiggins. The owner of the home and the owner’s nephew were also at the house. A man approached the home and reportedly raised a gun and started shooting when Lanier opened the door.
The gunman then shot and killed homeowner Tina Havard, 43, and shot and injured Havard’s nephew, according to reports.
Lanier managed to call for help on her cell phone after she was shot, Haase said. “She got 9-1-1 on her cell phone and called in her own rescue,” Haas said. Then she lay still and pretended she was dead until the gunman fled, he said. “It’s an amazing story of keeping your head in an incredibly difficult situation.”
Havard and her husband reportedly had run-ins with Ferguson prior to the shooting. A car description led police to Ferguson in Biloxi, according to news reports.
Ferguson was held on $1.5 million bond in Stone County on charges of murder and two counts of aggravated assault.
Glenda McQueen, an office manager for the Prudential Gardner office in Wiggins who has worked with Lanier for 12 years, said the calls began to pour into her office shortly after the shooting on Thursday.
“I had one of my clients call me to see if I was alright — he had heard that a real estate agent had been shot in Wiggins, and he didn’t know who it was,” McQueen said. The next call confirmed that it was an agent from McQueen’s office. And then she learned that Lanier had been shot.
“Nobody knew their condition. All I knew was that two people were airlifted. I didn’t know who was who. We probably had about 40 phone calls within a 15-minute period,” said Lanier, who had served as McQueen’s manager when McQueen first started in the real estate business. “Dottie and I are very close — we’re like family,” she said. “She’s a very giving person. She has a big heart that she just opens to everyone. It’s an honor to be her friend.”
Lanier’s recovery will likely be long and costly, McQueen said. “I thank everybody for their response and care for Dottie. People from everywhere are checking on her. Everyone appreciates that, especially the family.”
To assist Lanier’s recovery, Prudential Gardner has set up a charitable fund to accept donations. Contributions can be sent to “Prudential Gardener Charitable Giving-Dottie Lanier,” and mailed to Rick Haase, Prudential Gardner, Realtors, 3332 N. Woodlawn Ave., Metairie, LA 70006. Also, donations to the “Dottie Lanier Recovery Fund” can be made at the First National Bank of Wiggins, Bank of Wiggins, and any branch of Hancock Bank.
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