Gunman Dies From Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound After Killing TV Reporter and Cameraman
A gunman has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after killing a television reporter and cameraman live on air in Virginia.
WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were fatally shot at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta at 6.45am on Wednesday.
Authorities named the suspect as former WDBJ employee Vester Lee Flanagan, who had previously worked for the station using the name Bryce Williams.
Virginia State Police followed the suspect's car on I-66. He ran off the road and crashed, and when troopers approached the car, officers found him inside with a gunshot wound. At an afternoon press conference, authorities said he had died in hospital.
This is the suspected shooter, Vester Flanigan, who is also known as Bryce Williams. He is a former WDBJ7 employee. pic.twitter.com/ngXrqHVLmw— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) August 26, 2015
WDBJ's crew was carrying out an interview live on air at a waterpark when shots rang out early on Wednesday morning.
In footage of the attack, multiple gunshots can be heard as the camera falls to the ground. A woman can be heard screaming.
The gunman can apparently be seen on camera before fleeing.
The woman who was being interviewed at the time, Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back and is undergoing surgery. Gardner is the head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.
WDBJ's general manager, Jeffrey Marks, said the gunman is believed to have fired six or seven times.
"They were just out doing their jobs," he said of Ward and Parker as he announced their deaths on air.
Ward was engaged to a morning producer at the station. She was in the control room at the time her fiance was shot dead, Marks told CNN.
It was her last morning producing the show before she planned to move to Charlotte, North Carolina for a new job. Ward intended to follow here there, the station said.
We love you, Alison and Adam. pic.twitter.com/hLSzQi06XE— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) August 26, 2015
Parker was also dating another WDBJ employee, evening co-anchor Chris Hurst.
He wrote on Twitter on Wednesday morning: "I am numb."
We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married.We just celebrated her 24th birthday— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015
She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother.— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015
According to Parker's profile on the station's website, she graduated from James Madison Univeristy in Harrisonburg, Virginia in December 2012 before working at a station in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She interned at WDBJ before working as a morning reporter.
Ward was a graduate of Virginia Tech and joined the station in 2011.
Following the tragedy, the New York Police Department said it was stepping up security at New York TV stations.
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