Parents of Slain WDBJ Reporter on ‘CBS Sunday Morning’

Andy and Barbara Parker, parents of the local TV reporter who was killed while on the air in August, sit with CBS News’ Erin Moriarty on CBS Sunday Morning March 13. Alison Parker and her WDBJ Roanoke colleague Adam Ward were slain during a live report, and her parents are intent on turning her death into a change in gun policy.

“We’re on a mission. I don’t think it’s quixotic. And I don’t think we’re going to fail,” Andy Parker tells Moriarty, a correspondent on 48 Hours.

Americans have become somewhat immune to gun fatalities, but the Parker and Ward deaths stood out in that they occurred on live television. Vester Lee Flanagan II, a former reporter at WDBJ, shot the two and later killed himself.

The Parkers will target the NRA in their efforts, knowing that makes them targets too, and facing the reality that stricter gun laws may not have saved their daughter’s life.

They are hardly the first family members to push for increased gun regulation after a loved one is killed. Moriarty says the couple told her, “We may not be able to accomplish the changing of laws, but we are changing the conversation [about guns].”

CBS Sunday Morning is doing a 90-minute special edition, called “Guns and America.”

Moriarty also spoke with Parker’s boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, who she says mentioned possibly departing the Roanoke station. “Everything at the station reminds him of Alison,” says Moriarty. “He’s not sure he can stay.”

The Parkers appeared resolute in their focus. “They seem very driven, very sincerely driven,” says Moriarty, “in trying to make sure their daughter’s death means something.”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.