Alison Parker's Boyfriend, Chris Hurst, Shared Brave & Heartbreaking Moments From Their Life Together
Alison Parker and Adam Ward, a TV reporter and a cameraman for Virginia news station WDBJ7, were shot and killed on live TV Wednesday morning. NBC Philadelphia reports that Ward, who was 27, was engaged to Melissa Ott, a morning producer at the station. Meanwhile, Alison Parker was dating Chris Hurst, an anchor at WDBJ7 in Virginia. Hurst's social media posts following Wednesday's events are nothing short of devastating: Hurst tweeted a series of statements expressing his grief over losing Parker, and he also shared his sympathy for Ott in a Facebook post.
His shock and grievance are a reminder of the senselessness of gun violence — in his Facebook post, Hurst says Wednesday's shooting was "unconscionable." Hurst's tweets show the world how it should remember Parker: As a vibrant 24-year-old whose life was cut short.
Parker and Ward were shot during a routine segment on a local shopping center, Bridgewater Plaza, in Moneta, Virginia, on Wednesday morning. The pair were covering Smith Mountain Lake's 50th anniversary. The suspect, Vester Lee Flanagan, allegedly filmed the shooting and posted it on Facebook and Twitter accounts under the name Bryce Williams before shooting himself. Flanagan, a former WDBJ7 employee, died on Wednesday afternoon in a hospital in Fairfax, Virginia.
In a tweet Wednesday morning, Hurst shared a photo of himself and Parker dressed up for a formal event, adding that the pair was "very much in love" and had recently begun living together.
Hurst explained that he and Parker had been dating for almost nine months and had "wanted to get married."
He called Parker "the most radiant woman I ever met," adding that Parker cared deeply for her parents and brother.
In addition to grieving his own loss, Hurst expressed condolences for Ward's fiancee.
But Hurst chose to end his tweets on a positive note, adding that the support has been "overwhelming" in the difficult time.
In his Facebook post, Hurst added that Parker's story was "full of life, dreams, love, and amazing journalism." Hurst ended the post by saying that "there will be justice" for Wednesday's tragedy.
Facebook users also posted messages of condolence to Parker's official Facebook page, as well as in the comments section of Hurst's post. Parker's father, meanwhile, said Wednesday that he's experiencing "unbearable" grief over the loss of his daughter. "My grief is unbearable," Andy Parker told The Washington Post. "Is this real? Am I going to wake up? I am crying my eyes out. I don't know if there's anybody in this world or another father who could be more proud of their daughter." Parker's statement echoes the spirit of the photos Hurst shared on Facebook. Parker and Hurst want to celebrate Alison Parker's life and applaud the brave work she did in journalism. Alison Parker should be remembered on her own terms — as a skilled reporter, not as a victim. Many celebrities took to Twitter on Wednesday to express their outrage at the tragedy and to share condolences with the victims' families. A number of politicians, including Hillary Clinton, have also used the event as an opportunity to call for stricter gun control laws in America. Clinton tweeted that she was "heartbroken and angry" over Wednesday's news. "We must act to stop gun violence, and we cannot wait any longer," Clinton tweeted. "Praying for the victims' families in Virginia."
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) also called for tighter gun control laws Wednesday. "Everyone who purchases a gun in the Commonwealth of Virginia should have to go through a background check," McAuliffe said during an appearance on WTOP's "Ask the Governor" program. "We have had a horrible history on this issue." Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) echoed the spirit of Hurst's social media posts in a tweet of his own. Blumenthal reminded his followers how valuable reporters like Parker are, writing that "their work is central to our freedom."