Two Journalists Shot Dead in Virginia; Gunman Identified

August 26, 2015  

Two journalists have been shot and killed while on the job near Roanoke, Virginia, on Wednesday morning.

The reporters have been named as WDBJ7 reporter Allison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. 

Both were covering a story at local shopping and sports center Bridgewater Plaza when an unknown gunman began shooting at approximately 6:45 am local time (1:45 pm IST). 

Police are still chasing the gunman along the northbound lane of the I-81 highway. His motives are unclear. 

Both Parker and Ward were in serious relationships with fellow employees; Parker was dating an anchorman for the station, and Ward was engaged to producer Melissa Ott. Wednesday was Ott’s last day at the station; she was planning on moving to North Carolina, and Ward had apparently planned on moving with her and transferring to a different career altogether, according to the Telegraph.

Police have now identified the gunman (update: 11:30 am local time/EDST, 6:30 pm IST) as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams while working at the station.

The reporter apparently posted a self-made video of himself, too graphic to be shown here, carrying out the shootings. His Twitter account is now defunct. The station confirmed Wednesday that Flanagan had been fired for erratic behavior. 

Flanagan shot himself close to 12pm local time (8pm IST) as police closed in, but did not commit suicide; he is in “very critical condition.”  

Disturbing video footage of the shooting has surfaced showing Parker jumping back and screaming mid-interview, with a total of eight shots fired before the camera footage cuts to black. 

Warning: the following contains graphic material. 

Parker had been interviewing Smith Mountain Lake Regional director of chamber of commerce Vicki Gardner. Gardner was shot in the back and has been taken for emergency surgery

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now joined the investigation (update: 11:05 am EDST, 7:05 pm IST).


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1 COMMENT

  1. IsraeliGirl143 says:

    Those poor people! That video was so hard to watch, it made me so sad. My heart goes out to the families of these victims and the news team who was apart of their lives. Scary how fast and random this shooting was.

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