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Reporter, Cameraman Murdered on Live Television
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Summary: A 24-year-old news anchor and a 27-year-old cameraman were gunned down during a live broadcast Wednesday morning.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an early morning broadcast on Virginia news channel WDBJ would unknowingly become a horrific tragedy on Wednesday morning.

  
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Alison Parker, a reporter, and Adam Ward, a cameraman, were both shot to death on live television. The suspect is believed to be another news station employee, one who has had issues in the workplace.

The shooter actually recorded himself shooting Parker and Ward with a handgun and uploaded the content to social media, to the horror of viewers around the globe.

Vester Lee Flanagan II, a 41-year-old man from Roanoke, is the suspect. Flanagan appeared on the air with the news station as Bryce Williams. It is reported that he fled the scene and crashed his car, and was discovered by police officers after he turned the gun on himself. He was transported to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries. It has recently been reported by CNN that the shooter died around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

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Flanagan had just begun an interview with an economic development official about local tourism. Shots could be heard on the broadcast, and Flanagan immediately screamed and began to run. She could be heard crying, “Oh my God,” as she desperately tried to escape. Ward’s camera dropped to the ground, but an image of the shooter was captured.

Two women were recently killed during a movie theater screening of “Trainwreck.”



The broadcast flipped back to the news station, which showed an understandably alarmed news anchor. The anchor said, “OK, not sure what happened there. We will of course let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were from.”

The terrifying video was later uploaded to both Williams’ Twitter account and his Facebook page. The footage showed an outstretched arm pointing a gun at Parker and firing as she tried to escape.

It appeared that the shooter approached Parker, Ward, and the interviewee, Vicki Gardner, as the interview was being recorded. The shooter is not acknowledged, and he does not begin shooting until Ward begins filming Parker and Gardner.

Around 15 shots can be heard on the footage. Several were fired after the video went black.

ABC News reported that a 23-page fax was sent to the station from an individual purporting to be Williams. However, law enforcement did not detail its contents.

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Vicki Gardner was being interviewed about the approaching 50th anniversary celebrations for Smith Mountain Lake, a local tourist destination in the area. The shooting occurred around 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County. Gardner was also shot and was taken to the hospital.

Earlier this year, two young sisters were charged with shooting their brother.

Both victims were in serious relationships with other employees at the news station. Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, a WDBJ anchor, noted that although their relationship was not made public, they were “very much in love.” He added that they had just moved in together and were planning to get married. “I am numb,” he wrote. The San Francisco Gate shared several of Hurst’s heartbroken tweets.

Parker recently celebrated her 24th birthday and first joined the news station as an intern after attending James Madison University. While a student, she was editor of The Breeze, the school newspaper. She also loved kayaking and attending local theater events.

Last year, Jon Stewart expressed his frustration with how the media handles mass shootings.

Ward was 27 years old and graduated from Virginia Tech University. Ward was engaged to Melissa Ott, a producer at the station.

WDBJ spokesman Mike Morgan said, “Adam was our go-to guy. He pretty much was available to do anything that we asked. He did live shots during our morning show for several years.”

Law enforcement officials told employees at the station to remain inside until the suspect was apprehended. Roughly 50 employees work for WDBJ.

Police were protecting the station as well.

Source: St. Louis Today

Photo credit: Gawker



 

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