Slain journalist’s father vows to work for stricter gun control

WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, paused for a moment of silence a day after cameraman Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker were gunned down by a former co-worker who had been fired in 2013. As memorials pour into the station, Parker’s father vowed to lobby for tighter gun control. Gwen Ifill reports.

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    For a second day, a shocking televised murder is raising a wide array of questions about the perpetrator and about how quickly horrific images can infect the national bloodstream online.

    We will have our own conversation about some of this in a moment, but, first, more of this day's reactions to the Virginia shootings.

  • WOMAN:

    Please join us now in a moment of silence.


    WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, paused this morning to remember cameraman Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker at the exact moment the two were shot and killed yesterday during a live on-air interview.

    Their killer, 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan, was a former reporter for the station. He was known on-air as Bryce Williams and was fired in 2013.

  • JEFF MARKS, General Manager, WDBJ:

    He was an angry man. We didn't know that when we hired him.


    WDBJ president Jeff Marks:


    When something was amiss in his performance, he would deflect it onto others and blamed other people for all of his issues. And then he blamed back by making these wild accusations about racial insensitivity and all of that. And it's just not true.


    In the hours that followed the attack, Flanagan faxed a 23-page document to ABC News. In it, he said his actions were triggered by the apparent racism of Dylann Roof, a white man who has been charged with the murder of nine black worshipers during Bible study at a Charleston, South Carolina, church this June.

    Flanagan also claimed he had been subjected to racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work. Using his on-air moniker, Flanagan posted footage he filmed of the shooting to Facebook and Twitter. Both accounts were later taken down.

    After fleeing the scene, police said Flanagan committed suicide yesterday afternoon on a Virginia highway. Today, Alison Parker's father, Andy, pledged to work for stricter gun control.

    ANDY PARKER, Father of Alison Parker: I'm going to do everything I can now to make sure her life has meaning, that people remember her and that they're — that we don't have another Newtown, that we don't have another movie theater shooting, that we don't have another Charleston. The politicians have got to stand up to the NRA and close some of these loopholes, so that crazy people don't get guns.


    Joined by the WDBJ staff this afternoon, station president Marks said Flanagan was at one point sent to an employee counseling program because of performance and behavior issues.

    Even as he spoke, a makeshift memorial continued to grow nearby, as friends, viewers and co-workers paid tribute to the murdered journalists.

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