US: Reporter and Cameraman Shot Dead During Live report in Virginia

Shootings of Alison Parke and Adam Ward captured on footage taken by CBS affiliate in Virginia during live interview.

Authorities have identified the suspect in the killing of two Virginia journalists during a live interview as Vester Flanagan, a former colleague of the victims who Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said authorities were pursuing up a major highway.

McAuliffe said on D.C. radio that the suspect is believed to be a “disgruntled employee” of Roanoke-based WDBJ7 TV station and that police are following the suspect up Interstate 64. The News Leader newspaper has reported that police believe the suspect may be heading north on I-81.

A Twitter and Facebook account under another name appeared to show first-person video of the shooting, but both accounts have since been suspended.


The shooting occurred at the Bridgewater Plaza mall in Moneta, Virginia, which is about 150 miles west of the state capital Richmond. The WDBJ7 reporter, Alison Parker, and the person she was interviewing heard shots, sending them screaming and ducking for cover at about 6:45 a.m.

The camera drops to the ground and captures what appears to be a fleeting image of the gunman. The person is wearing black pants and a blue top and appears to be holding a handgun. The station then cut away from the live video of the scene and back into its studio.

Parker and the photographer, Adam Ward, died in the incident, the WDBJ7 said.


The Roanoke Times reported that the person interviewed in the video was Vicki Gardner, the head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. The paper’s website reported that Gardner was shot in the back and was undergoing surgery. WDBJ7 later confirmed that Gardner was injured in the shooting.

“I cannot tell you how much they were loved — Alison and Adam —  by the WDBJ7 team,” the station’s General Manager and Vice President Jeff Marks said. “Our hearts are broken and our sympathies go to the entire staff here.”

Parker just turned 24 and attended James Madison University, where she was the editor of the school’s newspaper, The Breeze.

According to her Facebook page, Parker spent most of her life outside Martinsville, Virginia. She was an avid kayaker and attended community theater events in her spare time.


Her boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, said on Twitter they hadn’t shared their relationship publicly but “were very much in love.” He said they had just moved in together and wanted to get married. She had just finished a special package on child abuse for the station, he said.

“I am numb,” he tweeted.

The station’s website says Ward was 27 and a graduate of Virginia Tech. He was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott, said WDBJ spokesman Mike Morgan.