North Carolina reporter, cameraman killed on live TV, shooter commits suicide

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

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Two members of a news crew for Roanoke, North Carolina news station WDBJ were shot and killed on live television Wednesday morning. The suspect, a former reporter for the news station, later shot himself after a manhunt that lasted several hours.

Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were conducting an interview at a local outdoor shopping mall when a gunman opened fire at approximately 6:45 AM local time (1045 UTC). At least 15 shots were reported to have fired. Parker and Ward were killed, while the interviewee, Vicki Gardner, was transported to hospital and underwent surgery for her injuries, later being listed in stable condition.

The gunman, later identified to be 41 year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II, fled the scene afterwards. A brief police chase ensued several hours later when law enforcement attempted unsuccessfully to pull Flanagan over on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County. Shortly after that, Flanagan pulled off the road and shot himself. He was pronounced dead at a Fairfax-area hospital around 1:30 PM local time (1730 UTC).

Flanagan, who reported under the alias “Bryce Williams”, was fired by the station in 2013. According to WDBJ president and general manager Jeffrey Marks, Flanagan was “an unhappy man” and “difficult to work with”. “Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well.”

A video of the shooting, appeared to have been captured from the point of view of the shooter using a GoPro camera, was posted on Bryce Williams’ Twitter and Facebook pages several hours afterwards. Both pages were taken down within minutes of the video’s uploading.