Virginia TV News Crew Shot And Killed Live On-Air Today By Former Co-Worker (UPDATE)
A reporter and her cameraman for a Roanoke TV station were killed earlier this morning following a shooting that took during a live broadcast on the WDBJ morning news program.
Parker, the “Mornin’ reporter” for WDBJ Channel 7 was reporting from the Bridgewater Plaza Mall at 6:45 AM with cameraman Adam Ward when shots rang out on air. There was screaming, the camera drops to the ground and the feed cuts back to a shocked and speechless news anchor back in studio.
There is video I'd like you to see. It is not of the actual attack. It is what happened after, more to humanize the victims, as well as pay tribute to the rest of the morning broadcasters on WDBJ who were forced to continue a broadcast after having seen their friends attacked. That's a media person thing maybe, but I want to focus on something good when I encounter stories like this.
A clip of the aftermath is below, and there is also a live stream of the TV station; you can rewind back on the live stream to see everything. http://livestream.com/WDBJ/live
WDBJ has confirmed that both Parker and Ward were both killed in the attack. The interview subject, Vicki Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was shot in the back and is currently in critical condition. Police are still searching for a suspect. WDBJ station manager Jeffrey Marks said, “We do not know the motive, we do not know who the suspect, who the killer is.”
UPDATE: The suspect is a former news anchor on WDBJ, Vester Flanagan (air name: "Bryce Williams"). There is also video on social media of Flanagan filming himself as he ambushed Parker and Ward, video that Flanagan supposedly posted on his own Twitter feed while on the run from authorities (which has now been shut down along with his Facebook account).
According to the WDBJ site, Parker was a former WDBJ7 intern who worked her way up to an on-camera career. She had recently moved in with fellow WDBJ reporter/anchor Chris Hurst. Ward was engaged to be married to WDBJ news producer Melissa Ott.
Adam Ward was 27-years-old. Alison Parker had just turned 24. We’ll have more on this breaking story as it develops.