Early Wednesday morning, two members of a TV news crew were simply doing their jobs when they were tragically killed in an unexpected gun attack. During a live news segment at the Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia, a gunman opened fire and killed WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. As the police continue to search for the suspect, they have a crucial clue thanks to Ward's camera. So who was Adam Ward, the Virginia WDBJ7 cameraman who sadly lost his life on the job, and who probably provided key evidence in solving the case?
Update: The suspect, Vester Lee Flanagan, shot himself just before noon after being chased by police.
Wednesday's attack was caught on Ward's camera, which shows Parker's interview get cut short by nearby gunshots before it drops and the feed ends. It then catches a glimpse of the gunman, a man dressed in all black pointing his gun toward the lens. Though he didn't know it at the time, Ward was providing an integral clue for law enforcement in their hunt for the suspect. But before the terrifying and tragic incident, Ward was just a happily engaged journalist who loved his job.
Ward came on board WDBJ7 in 2011, after graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in communications and media studies. During his four years at the station, Ward found more than a rewarding career; he also found love.
According to WDBJ7, 27-year-old Ward was engaged to a fellow WDBJ7 staffer: producer Melissa Ott. Wednesday was her last day producing the show, and the news team had a celebration for her earlier in the morning. Ott was planning on moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, for a new job, and Ward was going to move with her.
Tragically, Ward and Ott's future together was cut short on Wednesday. During his announcement of their deaths, WDBJ7's general manager, Jeffrey Marks, called Ward and Parker "special people." An emotional Marks said to viewers:
How can this individual have robbed these families, the families of Allison and Adam, of their lives and their happiness and their love for whatever reason? They would brighten up a room every morning.
As Ward's family, friends, and colleagues deal with the difficult news, they should know that while his killing was senseless, he did not die in vain. His footage of the shooter has undoubtedly been instrumental in helping authorities find the suspect, and hopefully he will be brought to justice soon.
Image: WHO TV