News

Actions

Reporter and Cameraman Killed On Air in Virginia

Alison Parker and Adam Ward
Posted at 1:15 PM, Aug 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-26 15:14:32-04

MONETA, Va. (AP) - The latest on the fatal on-air shooting of two TV station employees in central Virginia (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Police trucks are taking equipment from an apartment listed as the address for the suspect in the fatal on-air shooting of two journalists, and no one is answering the door at the residence.

A reporter knocked on the door Wednesday, hours after the shooting and after suspect Vester Flanagan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Several other neighbors also weren't home, and the parking lot was mostly empty.

The apartment complex near the highway has a swimming pool, tennis courts and fitness center.

Sheriff's personnel were parked outside Flanagan's apartment, and apartment personnel showed up to order a reporter to leave.

Police say Flanagan fatally shot two journalists during an on-air broadcast of an interview about tourism on Wednesday morning. Flanagan used to work with the reporter and cameraman at WDBJ-TV in Virginia, but he was fired in 2013.

___

4:05 p.m.

A former co-worker of the man who shot and killed a TV reporter and cameraman during a live news broadcast says that Vester Flanagan was "off-kilter" and that he thought news anchoring was about "acting."

Kimberly Moore Wilmoth worked with Flanagan in 1999 when he was at a Tallahassee TV station. She said Wednesday that "he didn't laugh at our jokes or at himself when he would make a mistake."

Wilmoth describes Flanagan as a loner who didn't socialize with other reporters. She says he got mad when co-workers made light of on-air mistakes. She recounted one story in which he filmed an elderly man trapped inside a car during a flood even though the man was calling out for help.

She says: "Instead of helping the man, he used the man as a prop."

___

3:50 p.m.

The father of the reporter killed during an on-air interview in Virginia says "my grief is unbearable" over his daughter's death.

Andy Parker told The Washington Post that his wife first learned of the shooting in a text message from WDBJ-TV, the station for which his 24-year-old daughter Alison worked. He says they did not know her condition at first but feared the worst when they didn't hear from her.

Andy Parker says she would have called immediately to say she was OK. About an hour after the shooting, a senior manager at the station called the family to say Alison Parker had been killed.

The gunman, Vester Flanagan II, apparently recorded the shooting that also left cameraman Adam Ward dead and posted video of it on social media. Andy Parker says he refuses to watch it.

___

3:45 p.m.

The third victim in a shooting during a live TV broadcast is being described as a woman with a positive attitude who's full of energy.

Vicki Gardner is the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce. She was being interviewed Wednesday morning when gunfire broke out. The reporter and cameraman were killed, and Gardner was wounded. Officials say she's in stable condition.

Troy Keaton, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, says he was at the hospital with her for several hours after the shooting, along with her husband and one of her children. He says the family is remaining strong.

Keaton says Gardner emailed him before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday to let him know about the live television interview to promote the lake's 50th anniversary.

He says: "The fact she was there at 4:50 is sort of Vicki. And you know, not a lot of the other staffers would've been up for that. If she was here, she'd be saying 'Man, at least everybody gets to see our beautiful lake.'"

___

3:25 p.m.

Authorities say the suspect in the on-air fatal shooting of two journalists was found by Virginia state troopers after he switched from his vehicle to a rental car he'd gotten earlier this month.

Officials say suspect Vester Flanagan was found around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on an interstate in Fauquier County with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They say he died about two hours later.

Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton says Flanagan fled the scene of the shooting, at a mall where the journalists were doing an interview, before deputies arrived. Shortly before 11 a.m., Roanoke police found his Ford Mustang at the city's airport. The Mustang is being treated as evidence.

Overton says Flanagan then left the airport in the Chevy Sonic he'd rented earlier in the month.

A Virginia state trooper located him driving on the interstate using license plate recognition equipment.

State Police Sgt. Rick Garletts says the trooper followed Flanagan until backup arrived, then turned on her flashing lights. The suspect tried to evade her but after a couple of minutes, he ran off the road into the median. That's where he was found with the gunshot wound.

___

3 p.m.

ABC News says that someone using the name of the suspected gunman in the on-air shooting of two TV journalists sent the network a lengthy fax invoking several mass shootings.

ABC News reports that a man using the name Bryce Williams called the network in the past few weeks asking to pitch a story and wanting to fax information. The organization says the man never said what the story was.

Then, ABC News says, a fax arrived with a time stamp of 8:26 a.m. Wednesday, nearly two hours after the shooting in Virginia. He called the network just after 10 a.m., introducing himself as Bryce but saying that his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan and that he had shot two people.

Police and WDBJ-TV have identified the shooting suspect as Vester Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams on air when he worked for the station as a reporter. Authorities say he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after the shooting.

ABC said in a story on its website that network officials immediately contacted authorities and provided them with the fax.

The 23-page document is a manifesto of sorts, saying he was motivated to kill his former co-workers after the recent Charleston church shootings. The document says Williams bought a gun June 19, two days after authorities say Dylann Roof killed nine people inside a black church. Police have called the massacre a racially motivated hate crime. The document also cites the Virginia Tech and Columbine High School killers as influences.

The TV station in Virginia has said that Flanagan alleged that other employees made racially-tinged comments to him and that he filed a complaint. But the station's general manager says the allegations couldn't be corroborated.

___

2:50 p.m.

The third victim in the fatal shooting during a live TV news broadcast in Virginia is in stable condition.

Chris Turnbull, spokesman for Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia, gave the condition of Vicki Gardner at a news conference Wednesday, several hours after the shooting.

Gardner is executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. She was being interviewed about tourism in the area when gunfire erupted, killing reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward of WDBJ-TV.

Authorities say suspect Vester Flanagan, a former co-worker of the two slain employees, died later of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officials have said they don't know a motive. Flanagan went by Bryce Williams on air and has been described as a disgruntled, angry man who was fired from the station.

___

2:25 p.m.

Officials say they don't yet know a motive in the fatal on-air shooting of a reporter and a cameraman from a TV station in Virginia.

Authorities say they know the suspect, Vester Flanagan, was a former employee at the station, WDBJ-TV. They say they don't know if the shooting was racially motivated. Flanagan was black and had formerly complained about racial bias at the station.

Flanagan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after the Wednesday morning shooting. He went by Bryce Williams on the air.

___

2:20 p.m.

A law enforcement official says the suspect in the on-air shooting of two TV station employees died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Franklin County Sheriff W.Q. "Bill" Overton Jr. gave that detail Wednesday during a news conference.

Officials say suspect Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 Thursday at a hospital in Northern Virginia. Authorities say the man killed his former co-workers — reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward — during a live broadcast for WDBJ-TV on Wednesday morning outside a shopping mall.

The station has said Flanagan went by Bryce Williams on the air. While he worked at the station, they say, he was angry and difficult to work with. He was fired.

___

2:13 p.m.

A Virginia official says the suspect in the fatal shooting of two TV station employees during a live broadcast has died.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran says Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 p.m. Wednesday.

Flanagan went by the name Bryce Williams on the air. He was a former employee at the station. The general manager says that he was known for being unhappy, angry and hard to work with, and that he was fired.

A reporter and a cameraman were fatally shot during a live interview outside a shopping mall Wednesday morning.

___

2 p.m.

The fiancee of the cameraman killed during a live broadcast outside a Virginia shopping mall was marking her last day at the TV station before moving on to a job in North Carolina.

WDBJ-TV general manager Jeffrey Marks said Wednesday was cameraman Adam Ward's fiancee, station producer Melissa Ott, was in the control room Wednesday morning as the shooting unfolded.

In an interview with CNN, Marks said: "It's hard to imagine, isn't it? She was moving on to a station in Charlotte. It was going to be a day of celebration."

Ward and reporter Alison Parker were killed. Parker also was dating a co-worker, anchor Chris Hurst. Hurst tweeted that Ward and Parker worked together every day. He says: "They were a team."

___

1:30 p.m.

The general manager of the TV station where the suspect in an on-air shooting used to work says he doesn't know whether he wants the man to survive.

Officials have named Vester Flanagan as the suspect in the Wednesday incident. WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed. Police say they apprehended Flanagan hours later as he sped away from troopers on the highway, crashing his car. Police say they found him with a life-threatening gunshot wound.

WDBJ-TV general manager Jeffrey Marks says Flanagan was a former reporter at the station, with a reputation as an unhappy man who was difficult to work with. Marks says Flanagan was fired after "many incidents of anger." Flanagan went by Bryce Williams on the air.

On Wednesday afternoon, Marks said of the former employee: "I'm not really sure whether I want him to live or die."

___

1 p.m.

The general manager of a TV station where two employees were fatally shot during a live broadcast describes the suspect as an unhappy, angry man who eventually was fired.

Jeffrey Marks of WDBJ-TV in Virginia talked briefly on air about Vester Flanagan— who went by Bryce Williams on the air — on Wednesday afternoon. Marks says Flanagan was hired as a reporter a few years ago after a while out of the TV news business.

Marks says the man had a reputation of being difficult to work with and being on the lookout for people to say things he could take offense to.

Marks says: "Eventually, after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well."

Marks says that when Flanagan was fired, police had to escort him from the building.

Marks said that Flanagan alleged that other employees made racially-tinged comments to him and that he filed a complaint with the EEOC. But Marks says the allegations couldn't be corroborated. He says the claim was dismissed.

Marks says Flanagan remained in town after being fired, and every now and then, station employee ran into him.

WDBJ listed Bryce Williams as a reporter at the station on its website on Jan. 17, 2013. By Feb. 8 that same year, his name no longer appeared on the site.

___

12:45 p.m.

A woman shot and wounded while she was being interviewed by a television crew during a live broadcast is in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital said on its Facebook page Wednesday that Vicki Gardner, a local economic development official who also was on the hospital's board of directors, was recovering after the surgery. It did not elaborate on the nature of her wounds.

The hospital statement also says that hospital staff had gotten to know the two journalists killed, 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward, through many live reports from the hospital's facilities. It says the two were more than just journalists — "they were good friends who will be missed."

The suspect, Vester Flanagan, was found with a gunshot wound after leading police on a lengthy chase. His condition is unknown.

___

12:40 p.m.

The man suspected of killing a TV reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast sued a former employer over allegations of race discrimination in 2000.

Vester Flanagan, who also appeared on air under the pseudonym Bryce Williams, sued WTWC-TV in north Florida in March 2000. The lawsuit claimed that a producer called him a "monkey" in 1999 and that other black employees had been called the same name by other workers.

Flanagan also claimed that an unnamed white supervisor at the station said black people were lazy because they did not take advantage of scholarships to attend college.

The station generally denied the allegations of discrimination and said it had legitimate reasons for ending Flanagan's employment, including poor performance, misbehavior with regard to co-workers, refusal to follow directions, use of profanity and budgetary reasons.

___

12:35 p.m.

Video of two TV station employees fatally shot on-air early Wednesday shows a fleeting image of a man in black pants and a blue top pointing a gun at the station's camera.

That image was part of an intense search that followed for a suspect police identified as 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II of Roanoke, who appeared on air at the TV station WDBJ in Virginia as Bryce Williams.

The shooting happened Wednesday morning outside a shopping center as a reporter interviewed an employee of the local chamber of commerce. The shooting played out during live TV on the broadcast from the station, WDBJ-TV, based in Roanoke and serving the southwest and central parts of Virginia.

Virginia State Police say they found the suspect about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Police say troopers had pursued him on the highway, but he sped away and crashed. Police say he was found with life-threatening injuries.

__

12:30 p.m.

Virginia State Police say that as they were pursuing the suspect in an on-air fatal shooting, he ran off the road and crashed, and was found suffering from a gunshot wound.

Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said Wednesday that the suspect is being treated for life-threatening injuries.

The suspect has been identified as 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II of Roanoke, who appeared on air at the TV station WDBJ in Virginia as Bryce Williams.

A reporter and cameraman from WDBJ-TV were killed in the incident Wednesday morning.

Police say that shortly before 11:30 a.m., they initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle on Interstate 66. Police say the driver refused to stop and sped away from the trooper, but ran off the road and crashed. Police say the troopers approached and found the driver suffering from a gunshot wound, and he is being taken to a hospital.

___

12:30 p.m.

A Twitter account under an apparent alias of a man suspected of killing a TV reporter and cameraman describes what he claims were workplace conflicts with the pair.

The suspect, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, appeared on air at WDBJ in Virginia under the name Bryce Williams. The tweets posted just hours after the killings of 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward claim she made racist comments.

The tweets also say Williams filed a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and that she was still hired despite that report. The tweets also say Ward reported Williams to human resources after working with him one time. The nature of that complaint was not described.

___

12:15 p.m.

The Virginia TV station that saw a reporter and cameraman fatally shot in a live broadcast has gone live for its noon broadcast, giving details about the suspect.

WDBJ-TV said Wednesday that suspect 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II appeared on air at the station as Bryce Williams.

Video of the shooting was posted on the Twitter account and Facebook page of someone under the name Bryce Williams. The video showed an outstretched arm holding the handgun and firing repeatedly at Parker as she tried to run away.

Also, ABC News reported that someone using the name Bryce Williams sent the organization a lengthy fax that it has turned over to authorities.

WDBJ-TV general manager Jeffrey A. Marks and an anchor spoke to viewers for the Wednesday broadcast, several hours after the early morning shooting. They told viewers more about the victims -  reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. They spoke about the victims as family members at the station. Both were dating co-workers.

11:05 a.m.

An official has identified the suspect in the fatal on-air shooting of a reporter and cameraman from a TV station in central Virginia.

Becky Coyner with dispatch and records at the Augusta County Sheriff's Office says the suspect is 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II, of Roanoke.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has said the suspect's arrest is imminent. He says police are in pursuit on the interstate, and he says the suspect is believed to be a disgruntled employee of the station, WDBJ-TV.

The station employees were killed in incident Wednesday morning at a shopping center, where an employee with the local chamber of commerce was being interviewed. The station says that person was injured in the shooting.

10:55 a.m.

The Virginia TV station that saw two of its employees fatally shot during a live broadcast has identified a third person who was injured during the shooting.

WDBJ-TV says on its website that Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce was injured in incident Wednesday morning. She was being interviewed by reporter Alison Parker around 6:45 a.m. about tourism. Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has said the arrest of a suspect in the shooting is imminent. He says police are in pursuit of the suspect, believed to be a disgruntled employee of the station, on the highway.

10:30 am 

Virginia Gov. McAuliffe says police are chasing the suspect in a fatal on-air shooting, and his arrest is imminent.

McAuliffe says on a radio show on WTOP in Virginia that the suspect is believed to be a disgruntled employee of WDBJ-TV. He says police are pursuing the suspect on Interstate 64.

Two station employees were killed in the incident Wednesday morning.

10:10 a.m.

A spokesman for the Virginia TV station that saw two of its employees fatally shot on air describes the slain cameraman as WDBJ-TV's "go-to guy."

WDBJ spokesman Mike Morgan says 27-year-old Adam Ward was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott.

Morgan says Adam had been with the station for four years.

Morgan says: "Adam was our go-to guy. He pretty much was available to do anything that we asked. He did live shots during our morning show for several years."

Also killed was reporter Alison Parker, who was dating the station's 6 p.m. anchor, Chris Hurst.

No suspect has been identified, and no motive is known in the shooting

___

10 a.m.

An anchor at the Virginia TV station that saw two of its employees fatally shot on air says he was in love with the reporter who died and that they wanted to get married.

Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed in the Wednesday morning on-air shooting at a shopping center. Anchor Chris Hurst says in tweets that although the two didn't share their relationship publicly, they were in love and had just moved in together.

Hurst tweeted: "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 also tweeted about the second victim, Ward, saying that Parker "worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancee."

Hurst described the TV station as a family, tweeting: "I am comforted by everyone at WDBJ7."

__

9:40 a.m.

After the on-air fatal shooting of two employees of a central Virginia TV station, the general manager appeared on air and called it a terrible crime, saying authorities don't know who the gunman is.

WDBJ-TV general manager Jeffrey A. Marks called the Wednesday morning incident at a shopping center "a terrible crime against two fine journalists."

Marks said on air that neither the station nor officials know the motive for the shooting or any identify of a suspect. He says he has talked with authorities and they are working diligently to find out.

In the video of the incident, as the camera falls to the ground, it captures a fleeting image of a man in black pants and a blue top who appears to be holding a handgun.

The station has identified the two killed as reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

Marks said on air: "I cannot tell you how much they were loved. Alison and Adam."

"Our hearts are broken."

____

9:40 a.m.

Video shows the fatal shooting of two TV station employees who were killed in an on-air shooting in central Virginia.

In the video from the Wednesday incident, a female reporter is interviewing someone about tourism on Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County. She was smiling when suddenly at least eight shots were heard. The camera appeared to be dropped on the ground. The reporter can be heard screaming.

As the camera falls to the ground, it captures a fleeting image of a man in black pants and a blue top who appears to be holding a handgun.

The station then switches back to a shot of an anchor back at the station, who has a shocked expression on her face.

In tweets and on its website, WDBJ-TV identified the two killed as reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

The station is based in Roanoke, Virginia, and serves the southwest and central part of the state. The shopping mall where the incident happened is just off Smith Mountain Lake  

Moneta is about 25 miles southeast of Roanoke.

__

9:25 a.m.

Video shows the fatal shooting of two TV station employees who were killed in an on-air shooting in central Virginia.

In the video from the Wednesday incident, a female reporter is interviewing someone about tourism on Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County. She was smiling when suddenly at least eight shots were heard. The camera appeared to be dropped on the ground. The reporter can be heard screaming.

The station then switches back to a shot of an anchor back at the station, who has a shocked expression on her face.

In tweets and on its website, WDBJ-TV identified the two killed as reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

The station is based in Roanoke, Virginia, and serves the southwest and central part of the state. The shopping mall where the incident happened is just off Smith Mountain Lake.

Moneta is about 25 miles southeast of Roanoke.

___

9:20 a.m.

The TV station employees who were killed in an on-air shooting in central Virginia have been identified as a 27-year-old and a 24-year-old.

In tweets and on its website, WDBJ-TV identified the two killed Wednesday as Alison Parker and Adam Ward. The station's website says Ward was 27 and a graduate of Virginia Tech. Parker just turned 24 and attended James Madison University.

In a tweet, the station says "We love you, Alison and Adam."

It was not clear who the shooter was.

The station says in tweets and in a story on its website that the incident happened at a shopping center. The station says law enforcement officials are on the scene.

The station is based in Roanoke, Virginia, and serves the southwest and central part of the state. The shopping mall is just off Smith Mountain Lake.

Moneta is about 25 miles southeast of Roanoke.

___

    

9:15 a.m.  

The general manager of a TV station in Virginia says two crew members were fatally shot on air in central Virginia.

Jeffrey A. Marks, general manager of WDBJ-TV, identified the two killed as Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

The station says in tweets and in a story on its website that the incident happened Wednesday morning at a shopping center. The station says law enforcement officials are on the scene.

The station is based in Roanoke, Virginia, and serves the southwest and central part of the state. The shopping mall is just off Smith Mountain Lake.

Moneta is about 25 miles southeast of Roanoke.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)