VA TV Journalists Shot To Death During Interview; Shooter Kills Self

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A reporter and photographer from WDBJ, a Roanoke, Va., television station, were shot to death while doing a live broadcast this morning, the station reported. They were reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27. The incident occurred at a shopping center at 6:45 a.m. The station was interviewing Vicki Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. Gardner was shot in the back, and was hospitalized. A former station employee who shot the journalists, Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, of Roanoke, later shot himself to death.

Flanagan, who worked under the name Bryce Williams, was a WDBJ employee from the spring of 2012 until he was laid off in February 2013. He later sued the station but the case was dismissed. WDBJ President Jeff Marks said, “We always say ‘senseless' crime.’ How can this individual have robbed Alison and Adam's families of their lives and loves?” Marks said that Flanagan “gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with…”he was sort of looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to. And eventually, after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. And he did not take that well. We had to call the police to escort him from the building.”

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