POLICE IDENTIFY SUSPECT …
|| By FITSNEWS || It’s easy to hate on the mainstream media. And in many cases they deserve it …
But the brutal murder of two local television journalists in Moneta, Virginia this week is beyond senseless. Shortly before 7:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday morning – during a live television shot – 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward were gunned down by an as-yet-unidentified assailant.
“We heard screaming and then we heard nothing,” the station manager told CBS.
A third person – since identified as Vicki Gardner, a local business leader – was wounded in the attack.
Parker and Ward worked for WDBJ TV 7 (CBS – Roanoke/ Lynchburg, Virginia). Both were from the area they covered. According to the station, Parker grew up in Martinsville, Virginia and attended Patrick Henry Community College and James Madison University. Ward attended Salem High School and Virginia Tech.
The two were reporting live from a shopping center in Moneta – which is located in Bedford County, Virginia – when shots rang out.
A video of the incident has been posted online, although we would warn our readers before clicking that it contains graphic, violent images.
(Click to play)
The subject of Parker and Ward’s report? A seemingly innocuous anniversary celebration for Smith Mountain Lake – a reservoir located southeast of Roanoke.
A manhunt is currently underway for the shooter. In the meantime our thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of the victims.
Shortly after the shooting WDBJ TV anchor Chris Hurst announced that he and Parker had “just moved in together” after dating for nine months and “wanted to get married.”
— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015
“She was the most radiant woman I ever met,” Hurst wrote. “And for some reason she loved me back.”
Ward was also reportedly engaged to be married.
UPDATE: Police are reportedly searching for 41-year-old William Epperly Vester Lee Flanagan II, described as “light-skinned black male” in connection with the fatal shooting. Flanagan has been described as a former reporter at the station who worked under the name “Bryce Williams.” Here’s a picture of him with Parker and Hurst taken from social media.
(Click to enlarge)
UPDATE II: A twitter account said to be affiliated with Flanagan, the suspected gunman, posted additional videos of the shooting early Wednesday. In addition to the videos, someone posting to the account – which has since been suspended – implied a racial motivation for the shooting. Specifically, it accused Parker of making “racist comments” and Ward of reporting the alleged shooter to the station’s human resources department.
UPDATE III: “Never let a crisis go to waste …”
UPDATE IV: Flanagan in “very critical condition” after shooting himself, according to The Roanoke (Va.) Times.