Journalism is not typically considered a life-threatening job, especially not within North America. However, on the morning of Wednesday, August 26th, during a live broadcast on WDBJ7 in Bedford County, Virginia, a news reporter and a photographer were both shot and killed. The shooting took place at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake, while Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, the head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, live on the air. Gardner was shot in the back, however she is listed in stable condition.
News reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam War, 27, were the victims of the apparent shooting incident. The suspected gunman is named Vester Flanagan, who is reportedly a disgruntled former employee at the station, who went by the name Bryce Williams when he was a reporter Shortly after the shooting, Flanagan crashed his car on an interstate highway and shot himself, later dying from his injuries.
A staff member of both of the victims made an emotional statement following the incident: “This kind of loss will resonate for a long, long time as we remember in their short lives what dedicated journalists and what outstanding people they were.“
The family of the alleged shooter sent a note of condolence via email to the WDBJ-TV news team late Wednesday afternoon. “It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we express our deepest condolences to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward,” the note read. “We are also praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the victims’ families and the WBDJ7 NEWS family. Words cannot express the hurt that we feel for the victims. Our family is asking that the media respect our privacy. Sincerely, The Family of Vester Flanagan.“
WDBJ7 released a statement from a social media account stating very simply: “We are trying to figure out what just happened — thank you all for your concern and kind words. We love you, Alison and Adam.”