WDBJ Roanoke reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were shot and killed during a live broadcast Wednesday morning (Aug. 26).
Vester Flanagan was identified as the suspect in the shooting. CNN reported that Virginia authorities were looking for Flanagan, a former reporter at the station who had been fired, in connection with the shooting. Multiple sources have reported that Flanagan has shot himself, though police have not confirmed yet. (Flanagan later died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after failing to stop for police).
The pair were doing an interview with a member of the chamber of commerce at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia at 6:45 a.m. when a man opened fire with a handgun.The general manager of the station, Jeff Marks, appeared on CNN to talk about the incident, saying it was senseless and devastating.
Marks said it appears that Ward was shot first, then Parker as she tried to run away. Marks said a pastor was at the station consoling staffers as they tried to continue to do their jobs while grieving.
CNN aired a chilling photo of the suspect that came from Ward's own camera as the gunman stood over him pointing the gun downward.
CNN initailly aired the video of the shooting, but said it would limit it to once an hour with a disclaimer about its disturbing nature. The video was also on the CNN website with a disclaimer. A spokesperson said they did not think anything was being edited out. CNN said it would not show the shooters' own point-of-view videos of the shooting posted on Twitter and Facebook.
Parker was an intern at the station before being named the morning reporter, teamed with Ward. She also formerly worked at WCTI Jacksonville, N.C., and was a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., in 2012, where she studied journalism and got hands-on experience in news producing at ABC affiliate WHSV. She was also news editor for JMU's newspaper, The Breeze.
Adam Ward had been with the station for four years, like Parker starting as an intern in the production department before moving on to news. He was a graduate of Virginia Tech, previously the focus of national attention for its own shooting tragedy.
He and Parker had been teamed on the morning news beat for a little over a year.
Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, in an interview with WTOP radio in Washington, said he had been on the phone with state police and they were in active pursuit of the suspect. He said they knew who the suspect was and he appeared to be a disgruntled former station employee.
CNN was reporting that Flanagan had posted his own video of the shooting on Twitter and that the account had just been suspended.
ABC News reported that it had received a 23-page fax from someone identifying themselves as Bryce Williams, an on-air name used by Flanagan. It did not identify the comments, but said it had turned it over to authorities.
Fox News Channel refrained from airing the video, sticking with stills. An FNC spokesperson said that could change given that it is a breaking, and still-moving story, and said that the network would continue to evaluate that decision.
John Eggerton contributed to this report.
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