Breaking: Reporter, photographer shot to death on live TV in VA; Update: McAuliffe says “disgruntled former employee”? Update: Suspect shoots self, in critical condition; Update: Suspect pronounced dead

posted at 9:21 am on August 26, 2015 by Ed Morrissey

Two journalists from WDBJ have been killed in a shooting that was captured on live television this morning. Alison Parker was in the middle of an interview airing live when a gunman shot her to death, and photographer Adam Ward was then shot and killed as well. No one has been arrested as of yet:

Police are searching for a person who they say shot at multiple people Wednesday morning, killing WDBJ7’s reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photojournalist Adam Ward, 27, at the Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake. …

Members with Bedford, Franklin County and Virginia State Police are on scene. Sgt. Ryan Young with the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries confirmed half a dozen of their department are on scene searching the shoreline and surrounding area.

Police say they continue to look for the shooter at this time and are hoping to get a description out to the public shortly. This incident remains under investigation.

WDBJ has pictures of both slain journalists up on their site, along with brief bios that emphasize their connection to the local community:

parker-ward

Adam was 27-years-old. Alison just turned 24.

Both were from the WDBJ7 viewing area.

Adam graduated from Salem High School and Virginia Tech.

Alison grew up in Martinsville and attended Patrick Henry Community College and James Madison University.

There is footage of the shooting, but I have chosen not to embed it into this post out of respect for Parker, whose last moments of life are briefly captured in the video. Our prayers go out to Parker and Ward, their colleagues, families, and friends — and to law enforcement, too. Let’s hope they quickly capture the coward who shot two unarmed and peaceful people who only wanted to do their jobs well for their community. We’ll update this story as it unfolds.

Update: The video did grab an image of the gunman. Anyone in Virginia who knows this man, please contact police immediately:

Update: Parker’s fiancé, Chris Hurst, sent out this tweet a short time ago:

First reports had Parker engaged to Ward, which is obviously incorrect, and a good reminder about first reports in breaking-news situations. It’s a beautiful remembrance of a woman taken far too young, and far too senselessly from Hurst and everyone in their community.

Update: More screencaps of the shooter:

Let’s bring this man to justice.

Update: If this is true, they’re already looking for a specific suspect:

I’d still caution about first reports. McAuliffe may be governor, but that doesn’t mean he can’t get out ahead of his skis.

Update: The suspect, now identified as former reporter Vester Flanagan, shot himself while police closed in on him, but is apparently still alive. Before shooting himself, though, Flanagan apparently posted video of the murders on Facebook and Twitter:

Two television journalists were shot and killed in Virginia on Wednesday morning while conducting a live interview, and authorities said the suspect appeared to be a disgruntled current or former employee of the TV station.

Police pursued the suspect and in the late morning, an ABC local affiliate and CNN reported the suspected shooter had shot himself, but it was not known if he was dead or alive. The suspect was identified as Vester Flanagan, 41, according to a dispatcher for the Augusta County, Virginia, Sheriff’s Department.

After the shooting of the journalists, someone claiming to have filmed it posted video online that appeared to be from shooter’s vantage point.

The videos were posted to a Twitter account and on Facebook but were removed shortly afterward. One video clearly showed a handgun as the person filming approached the woman reporter.

That will make for an easy conviction, assuming Flanagan survives to trial, if those postings can be traced back to him.

Update: Flanagan has been pronounced dead, according to the Washington Post.

Parker’s father expressed his grief and his disbelief over the loss of his daughter:

About an hour after the 24-year-old television reporter was gunned down while doing a live interview outside a shopping center in Southwest Virginia, a senior manager at the station called her family to say Alison had been killed by a disgruntled former co-worker.

“My grief is unbearable,” said her father, a banking industry recruiter from Martinsville, Va. “Is this real? Am I going to wake up? I am crying my eyes out. I don’t know if there’s anybody in this world or another father who could be more proud of their daughter.” …

Alison was talented enough, those who knew her say, to make it to primetime as a broadcast reporter. The 2012 James Madison University graduate was one of the most promising journalists the university had seen, according to Brad Jenkins, the general manager of the student newspaper “The Breeze,” where Parker worked as news editor.

“She was an excellent journalist,” Jenkins said. “I pictured seeing her on national news one day — she was that good. She had the ‘it’ factor.”

What a senseless loss for all involved, both for Parker and Ward. Our prayers continue to be with them all.


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Comment pages: 1 7 8 9

*shouts from the backroom*

Dang it! Where’s the lemons?

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 3:18 PM

Pucker up, Buttercup!

[replenishes HA Portable Bar…enters under “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer“…]

Newtie and the Beauty on August 26, 2015 at 3:45 PM

I stumbled onto the video where he was coming up on them, it ends with the pistol coming into view. The media said he had equipment like he was part of the crew. If that is true (and who knows) then I doubt anyone would have caught on until it was too late.

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 3:36 PM

If that’s true…i haven’t seen newer video yet… then it leads to intent of course, and a rather calculating at that.

Either way, his motives won’t be considered special, just another self-aggrieved nut who will become a byline for activists and discarded by history.

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 3:46 PM

The media said he had equipment like he was part of the crew. If that is true (and who knows) then I doubt anyone would have caught on until it was too late.
Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Doesn’t sound right. Usually these are just a two person shoots – the camera operator and the talent. It’s not a difficult setup.

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 3:48 PM

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 3:46 PM

I am sure it will spawn some new promoters of gun control. I wonder how many times the police were called on this man’s behavior but never documented to be seen by any future background checks for gun purchases.

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 3:50 PM

That would be a sad outcome. While I do think a lot of on location reports – especially where they’re just standing out in inclement weather (look at the snow, rain, eggs frying on a sidewalk) – are superfluous, they shouldn’t have to be worried about being murdered doing an early morning fluff story.

True, but because some of those stand ups are usually Live broadcast (less and less these days), and again with smaller better cameras & WI-Fi availability everywhere, it shouldn’t be all that surprising that it hasn’t happened sooner.

If just going to school, the movies or church can get you killed, I guess everything’s up for grabs these days.

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 3:38 PM

No doubt. That’s a underscore to the popularity of people renting/watching movies at home…a sad damn thing in the US today.

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 3:50 PM

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 3:48 PM

It might not be true or I am reading more into the reports sayings that this was staged like a news story by this guy had the equipment with him. I guess other people could have thought it was another station but I’m not sure a story being filmed that early in the morning would have been worthy of multiple station coverage.

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 3:54 PM

Perhaps more of the LSM will begin to see the light on the value and need for self-defense – i.e. 2nd Amendment.
But, that may be overly optimistic on my part – giving them too much credit for logic/reason capabilities.

dentarthurdent on August 26, 2015 at 3:42 PM

Yes, the responsiveness part is important. Though if the insane were institutionalized, as they used to be, that would go a long way from stopping many of these things from happening in the first place.

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 3:57 PM

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 3:54 PM

I’d be surprised if the coworkers he killed didn’t take note of him if he were acting as if he were setting up something next to them.

It looks more to me that he lurked as a “bystander”, kept up behind them and then just quietly snuck up on them. But the some details should be coming out to clear it up a bit.

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 4:02 PM

sad, but there’s nothing we can do about this.

more guns for everyone, please.
.
everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 9:45 AM

.
How about more PERSONAL DISCIPLINE, more recognition of God, and less HEDONISM?

How about THAT?

listens2glenn on August 26, 2015 at 4:21 PM

oh wait there is something we can do – thoughts and prayers and shrugs and nothing.
.
everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 9:47 AM

.
The only prayer from you that would do any good, is your prayer of repentance, and acceptance of Jesus Christ.

listens2glenn on August 26, 2015 at 4:23 PM

No doubt. That’s a underscore to the popularity of people renting/watching movies at home…a sad damn thing in the US today.

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 3:50 PM

Yeah, it’s like how the whole family used to watch tv together. Or at least some of the family, depending on the show.
There’s some movies I’ll watch by myself because I have some diverse, weird tastes. And also I enjoy classic bad & cheezy films.
But for the real movie experience, ya gotta go with at least two people, a real theatre and concession stand popcorn-snacks-soft drinks. (Sneaking in a snort of whatever makes ya happy is optional)

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 4:23 PM

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 4:02 PM

I truly don’t know but I think it’s safe to say that they didn’t have any heads up of his presence.

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 4:27 PM

. . . . . it appears to me the guy is white. He doesn’t look particularly Muslim and why would a terrorist be in such an out-of-the-way place?

This will be another sad case of our progressive society’s disinclination to institutionalize the insane.
.
Nomennovum on August 26, 2015 at 9:48 AM

.
yep white killer = lone crazy guy

darkie killers = typical terrorist/nut

everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 9:50 AM

.
Right … that’s what Nomennovum meant to say … thank you for the erroneous correction.

listens2glenn on August 26, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Pucker up, Buttercup!

[replenishes HA Portable Bar…enters under “One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer“…]

Newtie and the Beauty on August 26, 2015 at 3:45 PM

*syncope*

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:34 PM

Have you noticed that the only people attacking Donald Trump are the media and professional politicians, mostly in the GOP?

In contrast, do you notice how popular he is with the American people, who are suffering under a bi-partisan tyranny?

http://noisyroom.net/blog/2015/08/25/trumps-one-man-third-party/

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:36 PM

Yeah, it’s like how the whole family used to watch tv together. Or at least some of the family, depending on the show.
There’s some movies I’ll watch by myself because I have some diverse, weird tastes. And also I enjoy classic bad & cheezy films.
But for the real movie experience, ya gotta go with at least two people, a real theatre and concession stand popcorn-snacks-soft drinks. (Sneaking in a snort of whatever makes ya happy is optional)

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 4:23 PM

Im still a big movie fan…and like you my tastes tend to vary…and yes NOTHING beats a large screen experience.. seeing movies like The Matrix, Empire Strikes Back, etc in a widescreen format is the entire point.

Even watching the “11-7am” Kung Fu movies were fun in widescreen, but really the theaters started the backslide once prices went up, the majority got rid of the Matinee specials..and they stopped serving Coconut oil cooked POPCORN…the fascist bastid!

But I digress…:o)

Now, I still go, but no way in heck I go unarmed…but its a rare RARE movie I will go see in large-screen format.

Why bother? I’m geeky enough and setting up a home theater system on the cheap isn’t that hard ($500-$600 starter system)…a decent LCD projector, a mid priced Dolby speaker system, and streaming a video service or even a Redbox disk and it’ll pay for itself inside a year.

Plus no extra parking, you can make your own coconut oil popcorn, have adult beverages and most importantly, the armory is only a few steps away if needed… :o)

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 4:37 PM

Backlash: Black Killer of White Reporters Sent Manifesto Declaring that Murders were a Response to Charleston

http://ace.mu.nu/archives/358693.php

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:40 PM

I truly don’t know but I think it’s safe to say that they didn’t have any heads up of his presence.

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 4:27 PM

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Oh, tell us how you propose to get the guns away from criminals, dipshit.
.
Augustinian on August 26, 2015 at 10:03 AM

.
gee i dunno.

maybe the same way every other civilised country in the world does.
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everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM

.
Those countries don’t allow individual/personal FREEDOM for their citizens either.

Law abiding citizens must be disciplined, and ARMED, to maintain the freedom the Founding Fathers left us.

If you’re relying on the government agents of law enforcement, to keep you SAFE and secure, then you don’t deserve freedom.

listens2glenn on August 26, 2015 at 4:42 PM

A man claiming to be Bryce Williams called ABC News over the last few weeks, saying he wanted to pitch a story, and wanted to fax information. He never told ABC News what the story was.

This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the phone, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.

In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II. He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/shooting-alleged-gunman-details-grievances-suicide-notes/story?id=33336339

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:48 PM

keep pretending you care why’ll actively opposing doing anything about it, guys.

and call me names to make yourselves feel better about it.

how do you live with yourselves?
.
everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 10:12 AM

.
We have done, and are doing something about it … we’ve learned how to be safe and proficient with firearms for ourselves, and we’re teaching our young ones the same skills.

That’s how we LIVE at all … period.

listens2glenn on August 26, 2015 at 4:49 PM

maybe the same way every other civilised country in the world does.
.
everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM

MOLON LABE

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:49 PM

I see it didn’t take long for some people on hotgas to blame it on a black man even though they no evidence.

Racism is far from over in this country.
.
weedisgood on August 26, 2015 at 10:12 AM

.
One post where someone says the perp looked to be black, out of scores of other posts, and you get rampant racism from that? You’re clueless.
.
bernzright777 on August 26, 2015 at 10:16 AM

.
Not clueless … just doing his part to push a false narrative, to achieve a illegitimate agenda.

listens2glenn on August 26, 2015 at 4:54 PM

After finishing sentencing of James Holmes to 3,318 year plus 12 life sentences without parole, judge immediately orders shooter out of courtroom. – @CBSDenver

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:55 PM

USA announces it’s delaying season finale of ‘Mr. Robot’ a week due to a graphic scene ‘similar in nature’ to Virginia shooting – @andygreenwald

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:56 PM

Taking the pledge:

Donald Trump tells several top Republicans he will forgo 3rd-party presidential run, sources tell @HuffingtonPost

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:57 PM

Memos: Virginia gunman was told by TV station to seek medical attention – @guardian

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 4:58 PM

Suspect in custody after reports of shots fired at church in northeast Oklahoma City – @F5Video

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 5:00 PM

maybe the same way every other civilised country in the world does.
.
everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM

Name them, please.

BTW, you seem awfully assured that civilization, like water, lights and food are always on standby…

What do you do when it’s not?

Because civilization only truly exists when the sun is up…and you sure as shyte better have a plan for when its dark, or your going to be some other creatures dinner…or worse.

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 5:02 PM

Ha!:

OKC Police: Pastor Shoots At Suspect In Church Robbery

http://www.newson6.com/story/29886110/police-seek-suspect-after-shots-fired-during-okc-church-robbery

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 5:02 PM

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 4:37 PM

I’m not much on the big blockbuster type releases you mentioned, but they are indeed the type you wanna watch on the big screen and not on a 4 inch smartphone!

Not much on the Kung Fu movies either, tho there is a cheezy martial arts movie with a flying Satan I wannna watch. Sat through a 11-7am Planet Of The Apes showing, though. That was a long night.
My old fave theatre still has $2 dollar matinees, but since I don’t live near enough to it anymore I very rarely get there.

Yeah, I just have my PC with a good enough sized screen and good speakers but it works for me when I’m in the mode for staring at a screen. But having a bigass vid-setup would be nice.
Even setting aside sites like Netflix, you can find just about anything online – I tend to hunt for forgotten or obscure 70s films. Great era, even the Made For TV movies were a good watch.

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 5:14 PM

I truly don’t know but I think it’s safe to say that they didn’t have any heads up of his presence.

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 4:27 PM

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 4:41 PM

There was more in my comment above but I must have clicked something wrong. Meh, I’ll have to wax profound later, I guess

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 5:19 PM

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he will push for new gun control laws in wake of shooting of reporter, cameraman – @WashingtonPost

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 5:20 PM

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 4:37 PM

there is a cheezy martial arts movie with a flying Satan

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 5:14 PM

Oy, I meant a flying Dracula, not Satan. I got it mixed up with “Santa Claus Vs. The Devil”, which I have a copy of.

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 5:32 PM

.
gee i dunno.

maybe the same way every other civilised country in the world does.
.
everdiso on August 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM

So you’re for doing away with birthright citizenship? Oh and we can make our abortion laws more conservative? Right?

CWforFreedom on August 26, 2015 at 5:39 PM

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 5:14 PM

Heh. the setups isn’t that hard to do…you can even go with the same setup on your computer if you have a decent rig and secondary video card.

The nice thing is, especially with a projector or large screen TV, you get a nice comfortable viewpoint and its GREAT for gaming…with a decent router that can handle the traffic, you can stream video from your phone to the screen and view that way.

I’m a gadget and hardware kinda geek, and I love to wring out as much performance as i can on a budget…but I will admit to seeing the newer 4k curved screen TV’s and drooling on the floor in the store…well, maybe some were tears, but a lot was drool….LMAO

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 5:49 PM

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he will push for new gun control laws in wake of shooting of reporter, cameraman – @WashingtonPost

davidk on August 26, 2015 at 5:20 PM

Fools do what fools do.

22044 on August 26, 2015 at 6:09 PM

BlaxPac on August 26, 2015 at 5:49 PM

Eh, well, you’re really into the whole bigthang setup, I’m more “if it’s as good as/better than my TV it’s good enough”. I’m not real picky, still use the ol’ NTSC TV with a HD broadcast converter. And I got me a big, comfy chair. I’m good to go, heh.

I’m mighty geeky myself, but not so much when it comes to my viewing pleasure. Haven’t played a game since Madden ’94 on Sega (on the same TV I still use!).

I wouldn’t say no if I were to win a home theatre in a drawing, otherwise I’m happy with my low-tech video watching experience.

Thought about building a projection TV setup, but the homemade jobs don’t work all that well compared to real ones. Besides, I’m just not all that ambitious.

whatcat on August 26, 2015 at 6:14 PM

Shooting in Moneta, Va., Aug. 26, 2015
2m
Report: Virginia gunman attempted to subpoena personnel records on victims in 2014 as part of lawsuit against TV station – @jessicaschulb, @dliebelson
Read more on huffingtonpost.com

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/alleged-roanoke-shooter-requested-personnel-records-from-victims_55de2851e4b08dc094865350?q0lo9a4i
===============================================

OnGoing Now:

Sunset, La., shooting, August 2015
9m
Police: 8 people being held hostage in Sunset, La., store after 3 people shot, including officer – @mayalau
End of alert
============

Maya Lau retweeted
Lanie Lee Cook [email protected] 2m2 minutes ago

Closer to the scene. Hearing police on a megaphone.

Maya Lau retweeted
Lanie Lee Cook [email protected] 7m7 minutes ago

Sunset, Louisiana. State troopers getting set up in battle gear. Just saw another with a rifle.

https://twitter.com/lanieleecook

https://twitter.com/mayalau

canopfor on August 26, 2015 at 6:38 PM

http://www.breakingnews.com/topic/sunset-la-shooting-august-2015/

Sunset, La., shooting, August 2015
5m
Photo: State troopers on scene of shooting, hostage situation in Sunset, La. – @lanieleecook
=============================

Maya Lau [email protected] 2m2 minutes ago

Follow my colleague @lanieleecook, who is on the scene

Maya Lau [email protected] 3m3 minutes ago

The public info officer we’re all trying to talk to is the famous Lt. (now Capt.?) Clay Higgins of St. Landry Parish

canopfor on August 26, 2015 at 6:41 PM

Lanie Lee Cook [email protected] 1m1 minute ago

LIVE on #Periscope:

Hostage situation in Sunset, Louisiana https://www.periscope.tv/w/aK45QjE0MDcyNTd8MWVhSmJkbWdPblZLWBOgSyHeJ1HWbo4ownZ3im3FJqQfk3cFQs_1Dp1Oj9WR

https://www.periscope.tv/w/aK45QjE0MDcyNTd8MWVhSmJkbWdPblZLWBOgSyHeJ1HWbo4ownZ3im3FJqQfk3cFQs_1Dp1Oj9WR

canopfor on August 26, 2015 at 6:48 PM

After reading the first page, and only the first page, of the comments, did the banhammer come out?

BallisticBob on August 26, 2015 at 10:07 PM

BallisticBob on August 26, 2015 at 10:07 PM

Don’t think so. Who would the target be?

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 10:17 PM

Cindy Munford on August 26, 2015 at 10:17 PM

I don’t know. Just seemed things were starting to get a little heated.

BallisticBob on August 26, 2015 at 10:26 PM

I left for work after my post on page 2. I was only able to hear the news reports on the radio during lunch and on the way home – too busy at work to follow this story all day long.

Just got home and read page 9. I see all the trolls were furiously hoping it be a while male, despite the really good screen grab I posted on page 1 clearly showing he was anything but white. Then to top it off – he was gay. That had to hurt the media and everyone else that lives and dies by narratives.

UnstChem on August 26, 2015 at 10:31 PM

For the official record. Just for the leftist trolls and race baiters of HA.

Censured for wearing Obama sticker while reporting on Election Day…

Bmore on August 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM

Comment pages: 1 7 8 9