A year after his girlfriend was shot dead on live television, Chris Hurst found himself reporting on another brutal workplace shooting. Alison Parker, a 24-year-old news reporter for WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Va., was killed along with 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward. The gunman, a disturbed former colleague, later shot himself. About 40,000 people reportedly watched the journalists’ murder live. Hurst kept working at WDBJ7 after her death, and last October 2016, he was sent to cover a very similar shooting a Roanoke rail car manufacturing company, The Guardian reports
A disgruntled former employee had burst into the facility and shot several workers, one fatally, before killing himself. That attack did not become a national or international news story. For Hurst, the similarities between the two shootings devastated him. It was the day he decided that he could not continue as a television reporter. He resigned this month and announced he is running for the state legislature against a Republican opponent who was endorsed by the National Rifle Association. Hurst, a Democrat, has a gun violence prevention platform from the sweeping indictment of guns and the gun industry that Hillary Clinton pursued in her failed presidential bid. Hurst said he is skeptical of some of the culture war policies that Clinton and other gun control advocates have embraced, such as bans on popular military-style “assault weapons.” He is more interested in policies that are narrowly targeted to keep guns out of the hands of people at moments when they are most at risk of violence. That’s the approach that researchers and mental health experts favor.