Two television journalists were fatally shot and their interview subject was injured in Virginia on Wednesday morning during a live television interview, according to the journalists’ station, WDBJ7.
The attack occurred around 6:45 a.m. EDT during a live broadcast in Bedford County, when shots could be heard, sending the reporter and the person she was interviewing screaming and ducking for cover.
WDBJ7, based in Roanoke, Virginia, said reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, died in the attack.
“We believe it was a disgruntled employee who fired at the TV crew, not a case of terrorism,” Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia said.
The suspect in the shooting, Vester Lee Flanagan, who went by the name Bryce Williams on air, previously worked as a reporter at WDBJ-TV.
Videos posted to social-media accounts linked to Flanagan apparently show him committing the act.
A man with his name also faxed 23 pages of documents to ABC News, which handed them over to authorities.
The document said that Flanagan was angry about racism surrounding the deadly Charleston shooting earlier this summer. He also reportedly sympathized with the Columbine and Virginia Tech shooters, which were two of the deadliest mass shootings in US history.
Parker and Ward were filming a feature segment for the morning news program at Bridgewater Plaza, a shopping and recreation plaza.
At the moment of the shooting, Parker and Ward were interviewing Vicki Gardner, the local Chamber of Commerce head. Gardner was shot in the back during the attack and was moved to surgery.
Kimberly McBroom, anchorwoman of WDBJ7’s “Mornin'” newscast, said during Wednesday morning’s broadcast: “We’ve lost two members of our family. [Others have] lost a daughter, a son, a fiancé.”
Parker’s boyfriend posted a touching tribute as well, saying Parker “was the most radiant woman I ever met.’
The Roanoke Times reports that Parker was in a relationship with WDBJ evening co-anchor Chris Hurst. Ward was engaged to WDBJ producer Melissa Ott, and the two were planning to leave the Roanoke area in the near future.
Here’s the video. WARNING: It is disturbing.
Here’s the WDBJ7 report:
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