TV journalists shot in Virginia

Two television journalists were shot and killed this morning during an interview at a lakeside shopping and recreational sports plaza in Moneta, Va.

    The support is overwhelming. Sorry if I haven't been able to respond personally. Alison's life will be shared today and forever" — Chris Hurst


    • Associated Press
    Cameraman Adam Ward was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott, who was celebrating her last day on the job and was in the control room, watching it live, as the shooting unfolded, said Jeffrey Marks, WDBJ's president and general manager.

    That last post is a tweet from David Joachim of the New York Times.
    There have been conflicting spellings of the suspect's surname, going now with Vester Flanagan (not Flanigan). He was 41 years old #WDBJ

    Alison Parker, Adam Ward, on-air shooting victims, remembered fondly

    Television reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, who were shot to death on air near Roanoke, Va., are being remembered as bright young journalists with promising futures.
    Hillary Clinton just commented on the shooting saying maybe this kind of carnage could be prevented if guns weren't so readily available, if there were waiting periods to purchase guns, if there were more universal background checks. I believe we are smart and compassionate enough to figure out how to balance 2nd amendment right with control measures, Clinton said. She called these needless, senseless deaths and said that she feels great heartache at what happened. We need to do something more to prevent this incredible killing that is stalking our country, Clinton said. "It happens every day."
    Here's a sampling of comments to the live blog:
    A very sad day for the victims and their families. Quite sad for the shooter and his family.Frank D.MacDonaldat 12:32 PM

    This is a Very , Very, Sad situation indeed. My Heart goes out to their Families, Friends, and of course their colleagues. They will BOTH be SADLY Missed but I am Quite Sure they will Both be Fondly Remembered. My Deepest Condolences to all who have been Impacted by this Senseless Tragedy.Kevin Compton (CANADA) at 10:55 AM

    i am in ontario canada
    i have been watching on CNN and i cant believe that happened and feel so sad for the 2 that where killed and really sad for the famillys and everyone that really knew themian at 10:15 AM

    This a sad, sad example of the US mental obsession with guns.Joe, Arlington Virginiaat 10:25 AM




    • Thomson Reuters
    WDBJ7 President and General Manager Jeff Marks said he could  not figure out a particular connection between Flanagan and the  two dead journalists.

    Speaking to CNN about Vester Flanagan, he added, "Do you imagine  that everyone who leaves your company under difficult  circumstances is going to take aim?"

    "Why were they [Alison Parker and Linda Ward] the targets, and not I or somebody else in management?" he said.

    Vester Flanagan, shooter of 2 Virginia TV journalists: what we know

    The man who shot a Virginia TV reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast has been identified as Vester Lee Flanagan II, a former reporter at TV station WDBJ7, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound this afternoon.

    Alison Parker, Adam Ward, on-air shooting victims, remembered fondly

    Television reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, who were shot to death on air near Roanoke, Va., are being remembered as bright young journalists with promising futures.
    • Associated Press
    Live shots are a staple -- often ridiculed -- of television news that have become more risky in recent years even before a Virginia reporter and cameraman were shot and killed on the morning news on Wednesday.

    Experts don't expect the live shots' ubiquity to change much, however.

    "The reason stations do them is because all of their research tells them that viewers respond to live," said Deborah Potter, executive director of the think-tank NewsLab.

    A reporter on scene at a boisterous demonstration or out in a crippling snowstorm is undeniably exciting TV. Just as often, someone reports live from outside of a courtroom hours after a
    decision was handed down and everyone has left or, in Wednesday's tragic case, correspondent Alison Parker in interviewing a tourism expert shortly after dawn.
    • Associated Press
    Authorities say the suspect in the on-air fatal shooting of two journalists was found by Virginia state troopers after he switched from his vehicle to a rental car he'd gotten earlier this month.

    Officials say suspect Vester Flanagan was found around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on an interstate in Fauquier County with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They say he died about two hours later.

    Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton says Flanagan fled the scene of the shooting, at a mall where the journalists were doing an interview, before deputies arrived. Shortly before 11 a.m., Roanoke police found his Ford Mustang at the city's airport. The Mustang is being treated as evidence.

    Overton says Flanagan then left the airport in the Chevy Sonic he'd rented earlier in the month.

    A Virginia state trooper located him driving on the interstate using license plate recognition equipment.

    State Police Sgt. Rick Garletts says the trooper followed Flanagan until backup arrived, then turned on her flashing lights. The suspect tried to evade her but after a couple of minutes, he ran off the road into the median. That's where he was found with the gunshot wound.
    • Associated Press
    The third victim in a shooting during a live TV broadcast is being described as a woman with a positive attitude who's full of energy.

    Vicki Gardner is the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce. She was being interviewed Wednesday morning when gunfire broke out. The reporter and cameraman were killed, and Gardner was wounded. Officials say she's in stable condition.

    Troy Keaton, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, says he was at the hospital with her for several hours after the shooting, along with her husband and one of her children. He says the family is remaining strong.

    Keaton says he had a meeting with Gardner on Tuesday in which they briefly discussed gun violence after a local three-year-old boy was shot and killed.

    Then, Keaton says, Gardner emailed him before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday to let him know about the live television interview she was about to do to promote the lake's 50th anniversary.

    He says: "The fact she was there at 4:50 is sort of Vicki. And you know, not a lot of the other staffers would've been up for that. If she was here, she'd be saying 'Man, at least everybody gets to see our beautiful lake."'
    • Associated Press
    The father of the reporter killed during an on-air interview in Virginia says "my grief is unbearable" over his daughter's death.

    Andy Parker told The Washington Post that his wife first learned of the shooting in a text message from WDBJ-TV, the station for which his 24-year-old daughter Alison worked. He says they did not know her condition at first but feared the worst when they didn't hear from her.

    Andy Parker says she would have called immediately to say she was OK. About an hour after the shooting, a senior manager at the station called the family to say Alison Parker had been killed.

    The gunman, Vester Flanagan II, apparently recorded the shooting that also left cameraman Adam Ward dead and posted video of it on social media. Andy Parker says he refuses to watch it.

    A getaway car of suspected gunman Vester Flanagan is towed away on a flatbed tow truck on highway I-66 in Fauquier County, Va. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

    • in Vancouver
    ABC News is reporting that a man claiming to be Bryce Williams - the on-air name of Virginia shooter Vester Flanagan - faxed a 23-page document to them that was timestamped as almost two hours after the shooting.

    It said, in part, that he was motivated by the Charleston church shooting that killed 9 in mid-June, and that he had suffered from racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying, ABC reported.

    "Yes, it will sound like I am angry ... I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion want to feel is peace..." ABC quoted the document as saying.
    • Associated Press
    Although journalists covering international conflicts often face significant risks, it's relatively rare for journalists working in the U.S. and Canada to be targeted. However, at least 15 other journalists working in the U.S. or Canada have been slain over the past four decades while doing their jobs.
    • Associated Press
    A former co-worker of the man who shot and killed a TV reporter and cameraman during a live news broadcast says that Vester Flanagan was "off-kilter" and that he thought news anchoring was about "acting."

    Kimberly Moore Wilmoth worked with Flanagan in 1999 when he was at a Tallahassee TV station. She said Wednesday that "he didn't laugh at our jokes or at himself when he would make a mistake."

    Wilmoth describes Flanagan as a loner who didn't socialize with other reporters. She says he got mad when co-workers made light of on-air mistakes. She recounted one story in which he filmed an elderly man trapped inside a car during a flood even though the man was calling out for help.

    She says: "Instead of helping the man, he used the man as a prop."
    • Thomson Reuters
    USA Network has postponed tonight's scheduled season finale of hacker drama series "Mr.
    Robot" for a week because the episode includes a scene with similarities to the real-life murders that occurred on live TV this morning in Virginia.

    "Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight's episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time," USA said in a statement.
    Your words, calls, emails mean more than we can express. A very sincere thank you for your support. wdbj7.com/video/outpouri…

    • Associated Press
    Police trucks are taking equipment from an apartment listed as the address for the suspect in the fatal on-air shooting of two journalists, and no one is answering the door at the residence.

    A reporter knocked on the door Wednesday, hours after the shooting and after suspect Vester Flanagan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Several other neighbours also weren't home, and the parking lot was mostly empty.

    The apartment complex near the highway has a swimming pool, tennis courts and fitness centre.

    Sheriff's personnel were parked outside Flanagan's apartment, and apartment personnel showed up to order a reporter to leave.

    Police say Flanagan fatally shot two journalists during an on-air broadcast of an interview about tourism on Wednesday morning. Flanagan used to work with the reporter and cameraman at WDBJ-TV in Virginia, but he was fired in 2013.
    Many journalists and others are posting tributes with the hashtag #WeStandWithWDBJ.






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