Murder USA: TV News Crew Gunned Down by Fired Station Employee While Live on Air
ROANOKE, VA. — Alison Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst tweeted: “We didn’t share this publicly, but Alison and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb.”
That was the first reaction from the WBDJ news reporter Alison Parker’s boyfriend Chris Hurst upon finding out his girlfriend, along with news cameraman Adam Ward of WDBJ, was murdered by former employee Vester Lee Flanigin II, while she was conducting a live interview of a Chamber of Commerce representative at the Smith Mountain Lake Mall.
“We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married. We just celebrated her 24th birthday,” said Hurst in a second tweet. “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.”
After leaving his Mustang at the Roanoke, Va., airport, police say Flanigan, also known on air as Bryce Williams, fled from the scene and was headed to the airport on I-66 when he was spotted by police and then shot himself. While Virginia State Police initially reported Flanigan was dead, his pulse returned and he was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
A screen grab of the shooter came from the camera of photographer Adam shows Flanigan shooting the cameraman.
Another video of the slaying was taken by the killer himself and posted online before he shot himself.
The killer sent a 23-page fax to ABC News in New York and had filed accusations of racism and complained of discrimination for being a gay man at every news outlet at which he worked.
Videos he took and posted online are available to view at THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY online.
Franklin County Sheriff W. Q. “Bill” Overton in Hardy, Va. held a news conference at 2:18 pm on Aug. 26, 2015 and expressed condolences to the family of the two victims.
“At 1:30 pm today the suspect died at Fairfax Inova Hospital of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. The tips and information that came in from local residents and across the Commonwealth were extremely important,” said the Sheriff’s representative.
At 6:43 am we received a 911 call from Bridgewater Mall at Smith Mountain Lake. Alison Parker, age 24 and Adam Ward, age 27, both died at the scene. Both lived in Roanoke and grew up in this area. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Virginia State Police.
Sgt. Rick Ross of the Virginia State Police “Shortly before Trooper Neff’s license plate reader activated on the tags of the Chevy Sonic along I-66 and she attempted to stop the vehicle. As she continued to pursue the vehicle it went off into the median. At that point she found the suspect suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
ROANOKE, VA. — The man suspected of killing two WDBJ7 employees Wednesday morning shot himself on I-66 in Faquier County, according to state police.
The suspected shooter has been identified as Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams. He is still alive and is in critical condition. Previously, state police said Flanigan was dead.
Flanigan is a former WDBJ7 employee.
Flanigan killed himself near mile marker 17 on I-66 around 11:25 a.m. Wednesday.
The suspect opened fire on WDBJ7 photographer Adam Ward and WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker around 6:45 a.m. during a live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza, which is on Smith Mountain Lake.
Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce was also injured in the shooting. She had surgery and is recovering.
Adam was 27-years-old. Alison just turned 24.
Both Adam and Alison were from the WDBJ7 viewing area.
Adam graduated from Salem High School and Virginia Tech.
Alison grew up in Martinsville and attended Patrick Henry Community College and James Madison University.
Warning: Graphic video shot by the gunman and sent out on Twitter and Facebook.