ROANOKE, Va. (KMSP) - The general manager of WDBJ-TV in Virginia says a reporter and photojournalist were shot and killed during a live broadcast in Moneta, Va., south of Roanoke, Va. General manager Jeffrey A. Marks called the murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward "a terrible crime against two fine journalists."
Parker was interviewing chamber of commerce executive director Vicki Gardner about tourism on Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County, Virginia when at least 8 shots were fired. The camera dropped to the ground and captured the image of the alleged shooter, later identified as former WDBJ-TV employee Vester Lee Flanagan, who appeared on-air under the name Bryce Williams.
Follow the WDBJ-TV coverage at wdbj7.com
A man believed to be Flanagan crashed a car after fleeing police on Interstate 66. Troopers found him with a life-threatening gunshot wound, but he still had a pulse when he was taken to the hospital. Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran confirmed Flanagan later died at the hospital.
Marks described Flanagan as an "unhappy man" and "difficult to work with" – that he was always looking for people "to say things he could take offense to."
First-person video of the shooting was posted on the Twitter and Facebook accounts of Bryce Williams. Tweets posted after the shooting described workplace conflicts with both Alison Parker and Adam Ward, alleging racists remarks and an EEOC claim. Marks said the station believes those claims were fabricated.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe statement
"Dorothy and I and our entire administration remain heartbroken over this morning's senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims' families, the WDBJ staff and the entire community that is mourning this awful loss. We stand ready to offer whatever resources or assistance we can in the wake of this horrific incident. We also continue to pray for the safe recovery of Vicki Gardner, who was wounded in this terrible incident.
"On behalf of all Virginians, I want to thank the public safety personnel from across Virginia who responded with great professionalism and bravery to this threat.
"As we reflect with heavy hearts on this tragedy, it is appropriate to begin to ask questions about how we can prevent these senseless events in the future. Keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm our family, friends and loved ones is not a political issue; it is a matter of ensuring that more people can come home safely at the end of the day. We cannot rest until we have done whatever it takes to rid our society of preventable gun violence that results in tragedies like the one we are enduring today."