Virginia TV journalists shot during WDBJ7 live report

  • Published
Media caption,

The journalists were broadcasting live when they were shot

Two US journalists have been shot dead during a live TV report in Virginia.

WDBJ7 TV reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were killed during an interview in the town of Moneta, the TV station said.

A man, apparently a disgruntled former employee of the TV station, uploaded a video of himself shooting the reporter at close range on social media.

US media reports say he has subsequently shot himself - but is still alive.

Augusta County Sheriff's Office has named the suspect as Vester Lee Flanagan.

Image source, Twitter
Image caption,
The Twitter and Facebook accounts of Bryce Williams have been suspended

Known professionally as Bryce Williams, police said he was a former WDBJ7 staff member. His Twitter and Facebook accounts have now been suspended.

The attack took place at a large shopping centre, Bridgewater Plaza, near Smith Mountain Lake.

Image source, WDBJ7
Image caption,
The live footage apparently captured the gunman

Ms Parker was starting a breakfast TV interview about tourism at the shopping centre when suddenly eight shots rang out, the camera spun and dropped to the ground, and her screams could be heard.

The footage then captures what appears to be a fleeting image of the gunman, who is wearing black trousers and a blue top - and holding a handgun.

The station said the woman who was being interviewed, Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, had survived the attack but was in hospital and required surgery.

Media caption,

WDBJTV7 general manager Jeffrey Marks called the shooting "a terrible crime against two fine journalists"

"Alison and Adam died this morning at 06:45 shortly after the shots rang out. We do not know the motive or who the suspect or the killer is," the station's president and general manager, Jeffrey Marks, announced on air.

"I cannot tell you how much they were loved by the WDBJ7 team... our hearts are broken," he said.

He added that the station's building was in lockdown, under police protection.

"Police have advised us that as long as this person is on the loose, we should stay in the building. We have police protection," he told the Associated Press news agency.

WDBJ7 anchor Chris Hurst revealed that he and Ms Parker had been in a relationship and had planned to marry.

Image source, Chris Hurst

"We didn't share this publicly, but @AParkerWDBJ7 and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb," he said on Twitter.

"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.

"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."

He added that Ms Parker had worked on a regular basis with Mr Ward, and that he was heartbroken for his fiancee, a producer at the station.

Alison Parker

  • Aged 24
  • Reporter for WDBJ7's Mornin' show
  • Grew up in Martinsville, Virginia
  • Attended Patrick Henry Community College and the James Madison University, edited university newspaper The Breeze
  • In her spare time, liked whitewater kayaking and attending community theatre events
  • Was dating station anchor Chris Hurst

Adam Ward

  • Aged 27
  • Cameraman
  • Graduated from Salem High School in Salem, Virginia, and Virginia Tech
  • Engaged to station producer