Two US TV journalists killed in on-air attack
WASHINGTON DC, USA (8th UPDATE) – Two journalists for a local CBS affiliate in Virginia were shot dead Wednesday, August 26, during a live broadcast, according to chilling television footage of the incident and their network.
WDBJ journalist Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot at close range while conducting an on-air interview. Vicki Gardner, the interviewee, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce was shot in the back. But Gardner survived and is in surgery, Barb Nocera, the chamber's special projects manager told CNN.
Virginia State Police identified the suspect as Vester Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams) who was a reporter at the TV station. Flanagan was fired two years ago. Police told media that Flanagan shot himself after a high-speed chase down a Virginia highway and died at around 1:30 pm local time. (READ: Suspect in US journalists murders shoots himself)
WDBJ is located in the southern Virginia city of Roanoke.
WDBJ station manager Jeff Marks said Parker and Ward were "both in love with other members of the team" at WDBJ.
Parker was talking to the woman about tourism development for WDBJ's early-morning newscast when the gunman seemingly closed in from behind.
Several shots were heard, as well as screams, as Ward's camera fell to the floor, capturing a fuzzy image of the gunman, dressed in dark clothing.
The station then cut away to a startled anchorwoman back in the studio.
On her Facebook page, Parker – whose birthday was just a week ago – described herself as the "mornin' reporter" at WDBJ with an interest in ballroom dancing.
WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst tweeted that he and Parker were "very much in love," adding: "I am numb." (READ: 'We were very much in love. We wanted to get married.')
Video of police in pursuit of the suspect below:
"She worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancee," Hurst said.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said on Twitter that he was "heartbroken over (the) senseless murders."
Video from the live broadcast is below. Warning: graphic content.
– with reports from Agence France-Presse / Rappler.com