Former Reporter Shoots And Kills TV Journalist Alison Parker And Cameraman During Live Broadcast, Then Kills Himself
Tragedy struck on live television when WDBJ’s morning reporter Alison Parker, 24, and her 27-year-old camera man, Adam Ward, were shot to death by a former reporter, according to CNN. At approximately 6:45 a.m. today, while Parker was interviewing a woman at a shopping mall in Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia just southeast of Roanoke, several gunshots were heard.
Parker immediately began screaming and was seen running in the opposite direction before the camera was aimed at the floor. The screen was quickly switched to another reporter back at the station who was wide-eyed and appeared to be in shock, saying “Okay, I don’t know what happened there, but we will of course let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were.”
However, it was later uncovered that former WDBJ reporter Vester Flanagan, 41, who went by the name Bryce Williams walked towards Parker and Ward and began opening fire, shooting the journalist, cameraman, and the interviewee Vicky Gardner, who is the head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce. He quickly fled the scene of the shooting but was spotted by Virginia police on interstate 66. When he noticed police were behind him, he sped up but came to a halt when his vehicle crashed.
When police officials walked towards his car, they discovered that he had shot himself. He was immediately transferred to a local hospital where he died of his injuries at 1:30 p.m. Just after the shooting deaths of the two TV journalists, Flanagan went on a tweeting spree, saying that he couldn’t understand why Parker was hired when she had made racist comments.
His Twitter account has since been suspended.
Flanagan also announced on Twitter that he recorded the shooting deaths and posted the 20 second video on his Facebook profile, which was also suspended. The raw footage showed him aiming the gun at the reporter several times before the shooting two journalists live on air, according to Yahoo News.
His Linkedin account, which has since been pulled, stated that he worked for the news station from March 2012 to February 2013. The WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks who worked with the shooter said he remembers the police had to remove him from the building two years ago when he was fired. He also claimed that Flanagan had anger issues and had difficulties working others at the news station.
The TV reporter and her cameraman died just a short time after the shooting took place on live television, but the interviewee who was shot in the back survived the attack and is listed in stable condition.
This is a developing story.
[Image via YouTube Screen capture]