Vester Lee Flanagan's Family Offers Their "Deepest Condolences" To Alison Parker & Adam Ward's Families: "Words Cannot Express The Hurt"
As those who knew Alison Parker and Adam Ward continue to grieve for their losses, Vester Lee Flanagan's family has issued their own message. On Wednesday, in a statement through a representative, Flanagan's family has offered their "deepest condolences" to the families of the victims. In the statement, the family says they are also praying for Vicki Gardner, the third victim who underwent emergency surgery after the shooting and is currently in the hospital recovering. On Wednesday, hours after the shooting, Parker's family had issued their own statement, saying they were "crushed" by the "senseless" act.
Amber Bowen, a representative for Flanagan's family, read the statement to reporters from outside the gunman's father's home in Vallejo, California. The family's message read:
It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness we express our deepest condolences to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. We are praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner [a third victim]. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the victims' families and the WDBJ television station family.
The emotional message comes after the Flanagan family issued an earlier statement to KRON:
Words cannot express the hurt that we feel for the victims. Our family is asking that the media respect our privacy.
Hours earlier, Flanagan had interrupted a live interview Parker and Ward were conducting on air for their station, WDBJ7, shooting and killing the two mid-broadcast. He then shot himself after a police chase and later died in the hospital. It was later revealed that Flanagan was a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ7 and was apparently acting out in revenge. According to The Roanoke Times, Flanagan was fired from the station after about a year and later filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination. Shortly after the shooting, a Twitter account believed to belong to Flanagan posted angry messages directed at Parker and Ward.
As the public is left reeling from the shocking incident, several people who knew Flanagan have come forward to offer glimpses into the troubled man, and some of them paint a stark contrast to the shooter seen in the disturbing videos.
Flanagan's junior prom date, Lorah Joe, called him a "shy gentleman." She told ABC:
It almost feels a bit numbing because you don't think this would ever happen. I knew him as a different person.
Anchorwoman Barbara Rodgers of San Francisco's KPIX, where Flanagan interned in the '90s, remembers him as an "eager kid out of journalism school." She told Los Angeles's KCBS:
He just wanted to be on TV and to do a good job. Well, now he is on TV, but in the worst possible way.