Murdered on the job
Two Journalists Shot Dead in Virginia; Gunman Commits Suicide

Gunman, a fellow reporter, shoots himself after killing two colleagues at a local morning station.

Tova Dvorin, | updated: 22:51

Crime scene (illustration)
Crime scene (illustration)
Thinkstock

Two journalists have been shot and killed while on the job near Roanoke, Virginia, on Wednesday morning.

The reporters have been named as WDBJ7 reporter Allison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. 

Both were covering a story at local shopping and sports center Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, VA when the gunman began shooting at approximately 6:45 am local time (1:45 pm IST). 

Police have now identified the gunman (update: 11:30 am local time/EDST, 6:30 pm IST) as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams while working at the station.

Disturbing video footage of the shooting has surfaced showing Parker jumping back and screaming mid-interview, with a total of eight shots fired before the camera footage cuts to black. 

Parker had been interviewing Smith Mountain Lake Regional director of chamber of commerce Vicki Gardner. Gardner was shot in the back and has been taken for emergency surgery. 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has now joined the investigation (update: 11:05 am EDST, 7:05 pm IST).

Revenge

The reporter apparently posted a self-made video of himself, too graphic to be shown here, carrying out the shootings. His Twitter account is now defunct. The station confirmed Wednesday that Flanagan had been fired for erratic behavior, including threatening other employees.  

Flanagan shot himself close to 12pm local time (8pm IST) as police closed in. He was admitted to hospital in "very critical condition," but later died of his injuries. Flanagan fired the fatal shot as he was being chased by police on an interstate highway, and crashed his vehicle before slumping over, police said. 

Former station employee Larell Reynolds described Flanagan's "tantrums" to CNN, recounting that he was prone to violence. The station was on lockdown in 2013 after Flanagan was fired out of security concerns. 

"I came in a few hours later and the aftermath of the tantrum was that there were newsroom desks, computer monitors and things on the ground," Reynolds stated. "People were shaken and in tears because they'd experienced something so horrific. Police officers were there in our building watching over us." 








top