WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and WDBJ7 photographer Adam Ward were killed in the midst of an interview around 6:45 a.m. local time in Moneta, Virginia. During their live broadcast, eight shots could be heard, sending Alison and the person she was interviewing running for safety.
The attack took place outside a large shopping center. The TV station was airing the interview while the incident happened and quickly switched back to the front desk anchor. Her mouth dropped as she said, "OK, not sure what happened there. We will of course let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were from."
WDBJ7 said the person being interviewed, Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, survived the attack. She was taken into surgery. Sadly, Alison and Adam didn't make it.
"Alison and Adam died this morning shortly after 6:45 shortly when the shots rang out. We do not know the motive. We do not know who the suspect or who the killer is," Jeffrey Marks, the station's general manager and vice president, said on-air Wednesday. He added, "They both were in love...our hearts are broken."
Police were quick to track down who was responsible for the terrible crime against two journalists.
The suspect was identified as 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan of Roanoke. He was a co-worker of the two victims. He went by the name Bryce Williams at the same station Alison and Adam worked at.
Adam actually caught the shooter on video before being killed. Police are pretty sure they've figured out a motive for the murders. In a series of tweets, Vester hinted as to why the shooting went down before it did. He wrote about filing an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint and alleged that Alison had made racist comments. "They hired her after that???" he tweeted. He claimed that she had also complained to HR about him after working together one time. His final text tweet bragged about filming that morning's attack.
Alison had been dating WDBJ7 anchor 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," Chris posted to Twitter followers Wednesday.
"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. I am comforted by everyone at @WDBJ7. We are a family. She worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancée."
We're sure there will be more updates to this story as the day progresses. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims.
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