22 October 2016
Flowers are seen at a memorial outside the offices of WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia after the killings. Photo: Reuters.
Flowers are seen at a memorial outside the offices of WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia after the killings. Photo: Reuters.

TV journalists murdered in on-air shooting, suspect kills self

US viewers are reeling from the cold-blooded killing of two television journalists during a live broadcast.

Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27 were gunned down and a woman they were interviewing was wounded and is in stable condition.

Reuters is reporting that the suspect, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, shot himself as police pursued him on a highway hours after the shooting.

Flanagan, who was African-American, died later at a hospital, police said.

Both journalists were white as is the wounded woman.

Parker and Ward worked for CBS affiliate  WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia.

Flanagan, a former employee of the station, called himself a “powder keg” of anger over what he saw as racial discrimination at work and elsewhere in the US.

Social media posts by a person who appeared to be Flanagan indicated the suspect had grievances against the station, which dismissed two years ago.

The person also posted video that appeared to show the attack filmed from the shooter’s vantage point.

Flanagan sent ABC News a 23-page fax about two hours after the shooting, saying his attack was triggered by the June 17 mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the network said.

Nine people were killed, and a white man has been charged in that rampage.

The network cited Flanagan as saying he had suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work.

He had been attacked by black men and white women, and for being a gay black man, he said.

“The church shooting was the tipping point … but my anger has been building steadily,” ABC News cited the fax as saying.

“I’ve been a human powder keg for a while … just waiting to go BOOM!”

The on-air shooting occurred at Bridgewater Plaza, a Smith Mountain Lake recreation site about 320 kilometers southwest of Washington.

The broadcast was abruptly interrupted by the sound of gunshots as Parker and the woman being interviewed, Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, screamed and ducked for cover.

Hours after the shooting, someone claiming to have filmed it posted video online.

The videos were posted to a Twitter account and on Facebook by a man identifying himself as Bryce Williams, which was Flanagan’s on-air name.

The videos were removed shortly afterward.

The video

(Warning: Some viewers may find the content disturbing)

 – Contact us at [email protected]


EJI Weekly Newsletter