BREAKING UPDATE: Multiple media sources are reporting that Vester Lee Flanagan, the suspect in the Virginia TV crew shooting, has killed himself. Flanagan was a disgruntled former employee at CBS affiliate WDBJ in Moneta, Virginia where the two shooting victims worked. There has been no official announcement from law enforcement yet.
At least two people have been killed in a fatal shooting in Western Virginia on Wednesday morning. TV station WDBJ 7 in Moneta, Virginia has confirmed that reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were shot and killed during a live broadcast Wednesday morning. Station General Manager Jeff Marks is quoted as saying the pair were killed at 6:45 a.m.
UPDATE: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced around 10:30 AM ET Wednesday that the suspected gunman in the Virginia shooting is thought to be a former “disgruntled employee”.
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Media reports say police are actively searching for the unknown shooter Wednesday morning at the Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
Of note, the shooting occurred during a live broadcast and was captured on video.
At least eight shots are heard on the video, and reporter Alison Parker can be heard screaming. At that point, the camera is dropped and the video feed is transferred back to the TV studio.
Franklin County Sheriff Department spokesman Phillip Young said that the shooting incident happened close to the Bedford County-Franklin County line in Moneta, Virginia.
Current information indicates there were three victims. Two have been confirmed as killed, but the condition of the third victim is unknown.
More details on Virginia shooting on Wednesday morning
The shooting occurred just before 7 AM ET at the Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia. Parks was interviewing an official with a local chamber group for CBS television affiliate WDBJ7 about tourism in the area. Jeff Marks, the station’s general manager, was quoted as saying that law enforcement agencies had told him they were working to track down the shooter and could not comment on a possible motive at this time.
In a tragic twist to the story, Chris Hurst, a news anchorman at WDBJ7, tweeted after the shooting that he and victim Alison Parker had “just moved in together,” and had been dating for about nine months. “We wanted to get married,” he tweeted.
Statement from TV station manager
“Our hearts are broken,” Marks said, trying to console friends and family in a live stream from the studio at the television station. He noted the two reporters were “just out doing a story today.”
Marks also commented that the two reporters were on the scene doing a live report when “someone with a gun barged into where they were.” He noted that it sounded like at least seven shots were fired in the incident.
Bios of shooting victims Alison Parker and Adam Ward
Adam Ward was a graduate of Virginia Tech, and was a huge fan of the school and its sports teams. He was very well liked at the station and extremely dedicated to his job. Colleagues point out that he was known to hear of news on his way home, then turn around and go back to work to help report the story.
Alison Parker is an alum of James Madison University in Virginia and a Virginia native. She grew up near Martinsville, Virginia. Before becoming a popular feature reporter at WDBJ, she also worked in for a television station in Jacksonville, N.C.
According to the Washington Post, her colleagues at the TV station described Parker as kind, friendly and a “rock star reporter.”