What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

Gunman who killed WDBJ reporter, cameraman pronounced dead


Virginia State Police held a news conference Wednesday afternoon on Wednesday’s shootings of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward. Police announced that the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, hours after he gunned down Parker, Ward and a third victim during a live broadcast. Video by PBS NewsHour

State police said the suspected gunman who killed two members of a television news crew when he opened fire on them during a live broadcast, has been pronounced dead.

The shooter, described by Gov. Terry McAuliffe as a “disgruntled employee” of CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, died at Inova Fairfax Hospital around 1:30 p.m. EDT. The suspect, identified by state police as Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, of Roanoke, was previously in “very critical condition” at the hospital for a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police pursued Flanagan on an interstate highway before he eventually crashed his vehicle. Police said they found Flanagan with the lethal wound.

Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, died shortly after shots rang out at 6:45 a.m. EDT Wednesday morning, according to the WDBJ’s general manager Jeff Marks. Marks also said Flanagan, a former reporter at WDBJ, was a difficult employee who was fired in 2013 after several “incidents of anger.” Marks said Flanagan filed a report with the EEOC against WDBJ, alleging that other employees made racially-charged comments to him. The station has denied the allegations.

Flanagan, known on-air as Bryce Williams, appears to have posted first-person video of the shooting to Twitter and Facebook. Both social networks have suspended those accounts.

Parker was interviewing a woman about tourism in Franklin County before the interview was interrupted with at least eight shots that were heard during the broadcast, the Associated Press reported. As the camera lowers to the ground, Parker can be heard screaming. The feed cuts to a shocked anchor back at the station who promises to update the program’s viewers about what happened.

Ward caught a glimpse of the shooter, capturing on his camera what appeared to be a person holding a handgun. The shooting occurred in Moneta, Virginia, 25 miles southeast of Roanoke.

The Roanoke Times identified the woman being interviewed as Vicki Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, who was shot in the back. The paper reported that Gardner was in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Staff at WDBJ have been sharing their grief and condolences on social media, including anchor Chris Hurst, who tweeted that he and Parker were planning to get married:

PBS NewsHour will update this post.

The Latest