Who Shot The Virginia News Crew During A WDBJ7 Live Interview? The Suspect Immediately Fled The Scene
Law enforcement is on the scene at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia, where a gunman shot and killed two WDBJ7 reporters during a live broadcast on Wednesday morning. According to WDBJ7, the two victims have been identified as reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. The shooting suspect has been identified as Vester Lee Flanagan, who is reportedly a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ7. After a police chase, Flanagan shot himself just before noon. State police have confirmed that he has since died.
Shortly after the shooting, a Twitter user by the name of Bryce Williams posted two videos of the incident from the point of view of the shooter, and another tweet saying "I filmed the shooting" with instructions to "see Facebook." Bryce Williams is the on-air name that Flanagan used while at WDBJ7. Later, ABC News confirmed that they had received a 23-page manifesto from someone called Bryce Williams sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.
According to The Roanoke Times, Flanagan started working at WDBJ7 in the spring of 2012, and was fired in February 2013. The following May, he filed a lawsuit against the station alleging discrimination, naming the majority of the staff in his complaint. In June 2014, a Roanoke General District Court judge dismissed the case.
As the live footage shows, Parker was interviewing someone at the strip mall around 6:45 a.m. on Wednesday when the gunman began firing nearby, prompting her to scream and take cover. After approximately eight shots are heard, Ward drops the camera and the broadcast cuts back to the anchor's desk. Before the camera cuts away, it captured what's believed to be an image of the suspected shooter, who appears to be a man dressed in a black jacket and black pants.
Bedford, Franklin County, and Virginia State Police, as well as the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, had been on the scene searching the area for Flanagan, before pursuing him in a chase on I-66.
Bedford County and Franklin County public schools were on lockdown Wednesday morning, and Virginia State Route 122 was closed in both directions.
WDBJ had issued a statement via Twitter that they were trying to figure out what happened, and thanked viewers for their concerns.
Eventually, WDBJ7's general manager, Jeff Marks, announced that Parker and Ward had been killed during a broadcast from the station. He told viewers:
We heard screaming and then we heard nothing.
You can watch the video below. (Warning: The content is disturbing.)
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.