Wednesday, August 26, 2015

CBS journalists shot and killed during live broadcast in Virginia; police in pursuit of suspect

WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward died shortly after on-air interview

A pair of television journalists at a CBS affiliate in Virginia were shot and killed during a live broadcast Wednesday morning, and authorities say they are in pursuit of the suspected shooter.
The victims, WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, her 27-year-old cameraman, died shortly after the shooting, which occurred at approximately 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Va., near Smith Mountain Lake.
Part of the shooting was captured on the air as Parker was interviewing Vicky Gardner, the head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce. According to the Roanoke Times, Gardner was shot in the back and taken to a hospital for surgery. Gardner's condition was not immediately clear.
Warning: The video below contains graphic footage.

A still image taken from the on-air video shows the image of a man who appears to be holding a handgun.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe told WTOP radio that police were pursuing the suspect on Interstate 64, and that his apprehension was imminent. McAuliffe said suspected shooter had been identified by authorities and is believed to a "disgruntled employee" at the station.

Schools in the area were placed on lockdown, and security for television journalists was stepped up in other cities, including New York.
WDBJ-TV president and general manager Jeff Marks confirmed the deaths of the journalists in an on-air update shortly after 9 a.m.
"It is my very very sad duty to report ... that Adam and Alison died this morning," Marks told viewers. "We do not know who the suspect or the killer is.
"I cannot tell you how much they were loved, Alison and Adam," Marks added. "Our hearts are broken."
According to WDBJ-TV, Ward graduated from Virginia Tech. Parker, who grew up in Martinsville, Va., was a recent graduate of James Madison University.
Parker had just moved in with her boyfriend of nearly nine months, fellow WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, who said they planned on getting married.

“She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother,” Hurst wrote in a series of tweets. “I am comforted by everyone at @WDBJ7. We are a family. She worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancee.”
Ward's fiancé, Melissa Ott, worked as a morning producer at the station. According to Marks, Ott was in the control room at the time of the incident and saw the shooting happen live.
It was Ott's last day at WDBJ. She had taken a job in Charlotte, and Ward was going to follow her.

"This was going to be a celebratory day," Marks said.

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