Live Shooting WDBJ
WDBJ7 live crew attacked by gunman
2 journalists shot dead during live TV broadcast in Virginia
Live Shooting WDBJ : A news reporter and cameraman were killed Wednesday morning in a shooting that was captured during a live TV broadcast outside of Roanoke, Virginia.
The shooting happened during a WDBJ7 live report, the station said, and claimed the lives of morning reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward.
PDATE: Police think the shooting suspect headed north on I-81 and is in Staunton near I-64. Here is the alert:
Lester Lee Flanighan (unknown spelling) light skinned black make 6’3″ 250lbs 2009 Ford Mustang gray in color VA license plates: WZE-8846
ARMED & DANGEROUS
Two people working on a live TV shot were killed this morning at the Bridgewater Plazanear Smith Mountain Lake in Franklin County, reports WDBJ TV’s website.
WDBJ7’s photographer Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker were killed in the incident, said the station. Ward was 27 years old. Parker, a JMU grad, just turned 24.
Roanoke.com reports deputies are searching the area for a gunman. The site is also saying that Vicki Gardner, head of the SML Chamber of Commerce, was shot in the back and is in surgery.
A video posted on YouTube shows a WDBJ crew doing a live shot when it was apparently disrupted by gunshots. The station confirms a shooting took place during a live shot.
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In the video, a glimpse of the gunman wearing black can be seen walking by the camera lens which has fallen to the deck of a balcony where the live broadcast was taking place.
Jeff Marks, WDBJ president and general manager, spoke on air at 8:45 a.m. about the tragedy 8:45 a.m.
“We always say ‘senseless’ crime,” said Roanoke.com in a web story. “How can this individual have robbed Alison and Adam’s families of their lives and loves?”
Ward graduated from Salem High School and Virginia Tech, the station reported.
Parker grew up in Martinsville and attended Patrick Henry Community College and James Madison University.
Time stamps on the video indicate it happened the shots were fired at 7:45 a.m.
WDBJ’s general manager appeared live on air to tell viewers, “It’s my very, very sad duty to report… that Alison and Adam died this morning.”
The station tweeted, “We love you, Alison and Adam.”
The woman whom they were interviewing, Vicki Gardner, head of the SML Chamber of Commerce, was shot in the back and she is currently in surgery, the Roanoke Times reported.
Police are now searching for the man who fired the shots. The area was blocked off following the shooting. Schools in the area were put on lockdown as officials searched for the shooter.
The ATF said it was involved in a “manhunt.”
Parker was interviewing a woman at Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake, a reservoir community about 50 miles southeast of Roanoke, when a half dozen shots broke out.
Viewers heard screams and “Oh my God!” as Parker ran away, before the feed cut back to a visibly disturbed anchor in the newsroom, who said, “OK not sure what happened there. We will of course let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were.”
Speaking to viewers less than two hours after the shooting, Jeffrey A. Marks, the station’s general manager, said, “We do not know the motive. We do not know who the killer is.”
He said that police were “working very diligently to track down both the motive and the person responsible for this terrible crime against two fine journalists.”
“I cannot tell you how much they were loved by the WDBJ7 team,” he said, adding that “they both were in love with other members of the team here and our hearts are broken.”
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe tweeted that he was “Heartbroken over senseless murders today in Smith Mountain Lake.”
Remembering the victims
Parker grew up in the area and is a former WDBJ7 intern. The James Madison University graduate worked at WCTI NewsChannel 12 in Jacksonville, N.C., according to a bio on the station’s website. Ward graduated from Salem High School and Virginia Tech, the station said.
Viewers took to the news station’s Facebook page to remember the journalists.
“I want to say I do not know any of you personally but I am so devastated by what happened,” wrote Robin Rodenbaugh. “You all were really strong to keep it together on the air just now but I know you are shocked beyond belief. I’m so sorry this happened and to our community.”
“My heart is breaking over the loss of Alison and Adam,” wrote Nancy Martin Coleman. “I didn’t know either personally, but they become part of our families and homes by watching them every day.”
Chris Hurst, an anchor at WDBJ7, tweeted after the shooting that he and Parker were “in love” and had just moved in together. “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,” he said, calling her “the most radiant woman I ever met.”
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