TV Anchors Have a Moment of Silence For Reporter and Cameraman Killed on Live TV
Joining hands and fighting back tears, the morning news team for WDBJ paid tribute to their two friends gunned down on live TV exactly 24 hours earlier.
The morning show team at the studio in Roanoke, Virginia shared personal memories of reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, who were shot dead by a former employee who used to work at the station.
Weatherman Leo Hirsbrunner said during his weather report: “Still at a loss for words on how to get through the weather today. This was one of those mornings where Alison would come to the weather center and say, ‘Do I have to wear a jacket? I don’t want to wear a jacket.’”
Anchor Kim McBroom told INSIDE EDITION: “I just want everyone to know how wonderful both of them were. They were good people. They were hard workers. They had smiles on their faces everyday no matter what stories they were going out on.”
Across the country, there was disbelief that two young people covering a light news story could end up losing their lives in such a senseless way.
Alison was remembered as a talented and popular reporter at the station. She was dating the station's evening news anchor Chris Hurst.
Hurst spoke to CBS This Morning: "We were going to get married. We moved in together in August because we wanted to save money to buy a house and to buy a ring. We were living the dream and that dream was shattered.”
He shared poignant photos from the scrapbook he and Alison kept together. They show a spirited young woman full of vigor who loved life, laughter, and being in love.
Hurst told reporters: “She wrote [in the book] ‘This is our story. Let’s be sure to capture more wonderful moments and have this book grow.’ There are just wonderful pictures of everything that we did together in the first six months.”
Alison's father, former Broadway singer Andy Parker, is also speaking out about his daughter's senseless killing.
He told CBS News: "The day has gone from total shock and disbelief to abject grief where I have been crying my eyes out all day long."
He revealed that his daughter's ashes will be scattered on a river where she loved to kayak.
Adam was engaged to a producer on the morning show. Melissa Ott was in the control room at the time he was shot.
The third victim of the shooting, Vicki Gardner, works for the local chamber of commerce. She was shot in the back, but her husband, Tim Gardiner, tells INSIDE EDITION she is recovering.
“She told me that she had been shot in the back. She didn’t know why she was still alive, the guy fired several times, and that she loved me and that she would see me at the hospital," he said.
Tim was at home watching his wife's interview with the 40,000 other stunned viewers in Roanoke.
Meanwhile, SWAT teams searched the apartment of the gunman, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, who committed suicide and crashed his car when cops caught up with him.
Virigina State Police climbed a ladder into the balcony to search the apartment - which is right across the street from the studio where his victims worked.
A spokesperson for the gunman's family says they are devastated by what he did.
"It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we express our deepest condolences to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. We are also praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner.
“Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the victims' families and the WBDJ7 NEWS family. Words cannot express the hurt that we feel for the victims."
The killer, Vester Flanigan, was identified from a single frame of video, recorded as the camera fell. The time was 6:46 a.m.
At 11:10 am Flanagan posted this tweet: “I filmed the shooting. See Facebook.” It came with a link to the sickening video he shot of the murders.
Now, the city of Roanoke and the rest of the nation are left to mourn.
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