MONETA, VA (RNN) – 2 reporters passed away Wednesday early morning in a shooting caught on electronic camera. Vicki Gardner, the official they were speaking with, was shot in the back and remains in stable condition after surgery.
The suspect, a previous colleague of the press reporters, shot himself few hours later when confronted by cops. The suspect, Vester L. Flanagan II, was airlifted to Fairfox-Inova Healthcare facility and passed away at about 1:30 p.m. ET, according to Brian Moran, Virginia secretary of public security.
Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, died shortly after 6:45 a.m. ET. WDBJ general manager Jeff Marks reported the deaths on live TELEVISION at 8:45 a.m.
Gardner is executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, and was talking about the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake when the shooting happened.
In a Wednesday afternoon, authorities stated they are examining the chain of events that preceedinged the shooting, as well as a manifesto sent to ABC News that they said may have come from Flanagan. They are likewise examining how the suspect knew where to discover the reporters.
“It’s going to be a long investigation due to the fact that there are a great deal of elements to the investigation,” Overton stated.
Police said they knew where the gunman was by tracking his cell phone. As police looked for him, he posted messages on his Facebook and twitter accounts, including a horrifying video of the shooting he took himself.
Flanagan shot himself when police challenged him on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County, VA, which is about 175 miles northeast of the website of the shootings, WDBJ reported.
Virginia State Cops said a trooper attempted to stop the suspect, but when the trooper switched on his emergency situation lights, Flanigan’s 2009 Mustang scampered at high speed. The vehicle soon ran off the road and crashed. Troopers found the motorist with a gunshot wound. Authorities at first reported and quickly retracted that he died. He was taken to the northern Virginia health center where he passed away about two hours later on.
Virginia authorities stated that Flanagan was a previous worker of WDBJ, who was fired in 2013. He reported under the name of Bryce Williams there and at other stations where he worked. He was unhappy there, accusing co-workers of racism and victimizing him. Before his Twitter account was suspended, he published that Parker had actually made racist comments to him, and that Ward had actually complained to personnels about him.
Prior to working at WDBJ, he worked for WTOC in Savannah, GA, which is owned by Raycom Media.
Court records suggest Flanagan submitted a suit against WDBJ in March 2014. Ward, the cameraman he shot, was served a subpoena as a witness in the case, which was ultimately dismissed.
In 2000, Flanagan filed a discrimination lawsuit against another employer, WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, FL. That case was closed in 2001.
ABC News got a fax Wednesday early morning from a male who said he was Bryce Williams, who had been calling them for a couple of weeks stating he was going to pitch a story and fax details. He never ever did.
Less than 2 hours after the shooting, he sent a 23-page fax, in which he said he assaulted the reporters in retaliation for the bigotry of the Charleston Church Shooting, and that “my hollow-point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.” The writer likewise stated his intention was to start a race war.
ABC right away offered the document to cops.
About 90 minutes later on he called ABC, determined himself as Bryce, and said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanigan II. He stated he had actually shot 2 people today and authorities sought him.
The lethal shooting occurred during a live interview by WDBJ at Bridgewater Plaza, near Smith Mountain Lake beyond Roanoke, VA.
. In the video, the reporter is seen holding a microphone in front of Gardner. Several gunshots are heard, together with screams, and the cam is up to the ground. The video picks up a brief shot of someone in black clothes who appears to be holding a gun.
“This is a horrific day for our WDBJ family and the community we serve,” tweeted WDBJ station meteorologist Brent Watts.
Allison Parker’s daddy, Andy Parker, on Wednesday afternoon, released the following statement on behalf of himself, her mom and sibling:
“Barbara, Drew and I are numb, ravaged and I find my despair intolerable. Alison was our intense, shining light and it was cruelly snuffed out by yet another crazy person with a weapon. She stood out at everything she did and was enjoyed by everyone she touched. She liked us dearly, and we spoke with her every single day. Not hearing her voice once more squashes my soul. Our family can just take solace in the fact that although her life was short, she was so happy with it. She lived it to the fullest and her spirit will certainly still be with us.”
WDBJ associate Chris Hurst, who was dating Parker, stated they had actually just moved in together.
“She was the most glowing lady I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She enjoyed her family, her moms and dads and her sibling,” Hurst tweeted.
Parker grew up in Martinsville, VA, about 50 miles south of Roanoke, and went to college at Patrick Henry Neighborhood College and James Madison University, graduating in 2012.
Ward was engaged to Melissa Ott, the manufacturer of the early morning program they were aiming for, according to Hurst. It was her last day on the program, she was leaving for a brand-new task.
Overton stated it was “an exceptionally tough early morning” because he had just been talked to by the news group three weeks ago in relation to the start of school.
Bridgewater Plaza is a shopping complex that houses stores, galleries, a theme park, boat rentals and a mini-golf field. The complex also houses the Smith Mountain Lake Visitor’s Center.
The location was showcased in the movie What About Bob? starring Expense Murray and Richard Dreyfuss.
The shooting prompted enhanced security around New York TELEVISION stations, CNN reported.
Note: RNN has actually eliminated connect to online video of the shooting after discovering it resulted in the deaths of 2 people.
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