WDBJ's Morning Show Hosts Honor Their Slain Coworkers In Emotional, On-Air Tribute — VIDEO
Just 24 hours after their coworkers Alison Parker and Adam Ward were tragically shot to death, the WDBJ7 team aired a touching tribute as part of their morning newscast. The 5 a.m. news program began with the words "In Memory," and showed photos of the two victims, who were just 24 and 27 years old. Three of the WDBJ7's news anchors and one visiting anchor who was filling in from another station joined hands and held a moment of silence during the morning program to remember Parker and Ward.
"Joining hands here on the desk, it's the only way to do it," anchor Kim McBroom said after a moment of silence that featured photos of Parker and Ward. McBroom was on the air just after the shooting, and she and the team cried as she said that it was around the same time Wednesday that Ward and Parker were shot while live-reporting a local news story. The two were reporting on the 50th anniversary of a local lake when Vester Flanagan, the suspected shooter and a former WDBJ7 employee, opened fire on them. Ward and Parker died at the scene, and the subject of their interview, Vicki Gardner, was seriously wounded. Gardner underwent emergency surgery and her condition has stabilized, according to ABC7.
McBroom said that the innocence of their reporting — the fact that it was about community — makes it even harder to understand the tragedy:
They were out in the field. The story was like so many others they did all the time, reporting on our hometowns. They were at Bridgewater Plaza to report on a happy event, the 50th anniversary of the lake. Just a feature. And it was during a conversation with Vicki Garnder about another reason why we love living here when the peacefulness of community was shattered. As we approach that moment we want to pause and reflect and share once again what made these two so special.
Parker's boyfriend and an anchor at the station, Chris Hurst, also visited the station Thursday. He told his coworkers and viewers that he wanted to tell his girlfriend's story despite his grief, according to ABC7:
It was a kind of love that I was so privileged and lucky to have.I need to share that with everyone, to tell people that even if it gets taken away from you, it exists.
Hurst said that Parker's voice could light up a room, and that she was always excited about her work at the station. The team also read a statement from Parker's father Andy Parker, according to ABC7:
Our vivacious, ambitious, smart, engaging, hilarious, beautiful and immensely talented Alison was taken from the world. This is senseless, and our family is crushed.
Leo Hirsbrunner, the morning meteorologist at WDBJ7, repeatedly mentioned how hard it was to do the weather program that morning. He said Ward would check in with him every morning about the weather before he went out on an assignment, according to ABC7. As he gave the temperatures around the Roanoke area, his voice trembled slightly. "I don't even know how to do weather on a day like this," Hirsbrunner said.