Parker and Ward
Two beloved Virginia journalists were shot and killed Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire in a shocking moment caught on live television.
Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, worked for Roanoke-based news station WDBJ and were broadcasting from Smith Mountain Lake in the community of Moneta when multiple gunshots rang out around 6:45 a.m. Parker screamed and ducked before the camera turned off. Parker and Ward both died at the scene. Vicki Gardner, the executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce who Parker was interviewing at the time, was struck in the back and is in stable condition after undergoing surgery at a local hospital.
Police say the gunman was 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan, a former WDBJ reporter who went by “Bryce Williams” on air. Flanagan fled the scene, and law enforcement ultimately caught up to him at around 11:30 a.m., when his vehicle went off the highway and crashed. Officials found Flanagan suffering from a gunshot wound. He was taken to a hospital, but died of his injuries at around 1:30 p.m.
While Flanagan was running from the police, video footage of the attacks from the point of view of the shooter were posted to social media accounts bearing the name Bryce Williams. Tweets sent from the Williams account accused Parker of being “racist” and complained that Ward had once “sent [him] to HR.” Twitter and Facebook suspended the accounts involved.
Parker and Ward, both Virginia natives, were loved and respect by their colleagues and often worked together as a team on assignments.
“They were special people. They’d brighten up a room every morning,” anchor Kim McBroom said in a broadcast following the attack.
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