Virginia News Reporter and Cameraman Killed in Shooting During Live Broadcast
A Virginia TV reporter and her cameraman were killed earlier this morning in Moneta, Virginia following a shooting that took during a live broadcast on the WDBJ morning news program.
Parker, the “Mornin’ reporter” for WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia 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.
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: Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe says law enforcement believes the shooting to be a “disgruntled employee”. State troopers have identified the shooter as Vester Flanagan who previously worked with Parker and Ward under the name “Bryce Williams”. Officials have confirmed that Flanagan killed himself on I-66 in Virginia around 11:25 a.m., shortly after posting a serious of graphic videos of the crime on Facebook and Twitter.
UPDATE #2: WDBJ is now reporting that Flanagan survived his suicide attempt and is now listed in critical condition. The third shooting victim, Vicki Gardner, is out of surgery and her condition has been updated to stable.
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.