2 US journalists shot on live TV; shooter films act, kills self

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 27, 2015 09:20 IST
This TV video frame grab courtesy of WDBJ7-TV in Roanoke, Virginia shows Alison Parker (L) the moment shots ring out during an interview on tourism with Vicki Gardner, the local chamber of commerce director, before she was shot and killed. Police are looking for a suspect who apparently opened fire on WDBJ7's photographer Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker. (AFP Photo)

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were reporting a story live, on air, Wednesday morning when an erstwhile colleague walked up on them from behind and shot them dead.

The alleged assailant, Vester Lee Flanagan who also called himself Bryce Williams, tweeted out his reasons while fleeing and posted a video he shot of the killings on Facebook.

He was captured with self-inflicted gun shots but died in a hospital later.

Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, reporter and cameraman for a TV news station in Virginia, died at the crime scene. A woman they were interviewing was hit too, but she was out of danger.

In one of the tweets he sent before his account was suspended, Willimas, 41, said, “Adam (Ward) went to hr (presumably HR, personnel) on me after working with me one time.”

“They hired her after that,” he said in another tweet. And, then these: “EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) report filed” and “Alison (Parker) made racist comments”.

WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks confirmed Williams worked at the station. “Two years ago, we had to separate him from the company. We did understand that he was still living in the area.”

He added that he was aware of Williams’s charges, but, “I don’t think Alison (Parker) and that individual even overlapped here.” The station is cooperating with the police.

Another TV station said it had received a 23-page manifesto from someone calling himself Bryce Williams, which had been handed over to the police. The contents are not disclosed.

The shooter appears to have planned the attacks. He wore a body camera, which showed the wearer walking up to the reporter and the cameraman as they conducted the interview.

He filmed the shooting, and then posted it on Facebook, while fleeing, and tweeted, “I filmed the shooting see Facebook.” His social media accounts have been suspended since.

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