2 US journalists shot dead during 'live' TV broadcast

Ms Alison Parker and Mr Adam Ward were both shot at close range.
Ms Alison Parker and Mr Adam Ward were both shot at close range. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

WASHINGTON • Two journalists for a CBS affiliate in the US state of Virginia have been shot dead during a "live" broadcast, according to chilling TV footage of the incident.

WDBJ journalist Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot at close range while conducting an on-air interview yesterday morning.

The fatal shots were heard in the footage taken by Mr Ward before he dropped to the ground.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said the gunman was believed to be "a disgruntled employee" of the network. Police identified the shooter as Vester Lee Flanagan, a reporter professionally known as Bryce Williams, who shot himself after a car chase with police. He is critically injured, state police said.

After the shooting of the journalists, someone claiming to have filmed it posted a video online that appeared to be from the shooter's vantage point. The clips were posted on Twitter and Facebook but were removed shortly after.

According to the television station, the shooting happened during a "live" broadcast at around 6.45am local time, on a balcony at the lakeside Bridgewater Resort in the town of Moneta, near Roanoke.

Ms Parker was talking to a female interviewee about tourism development for WDBJ's early-morning newscast when the gunman seemingly closed in from behind.

Several shots were heard, along with screams, as the two women ducked for cover, and Mr Ward's camera fell to the floor, capturing a fuzzy image of the gunman, who was dressed in dark clothing.

The station then cut away to a startled presenter in the studio.

The woman who was being interviewed was wounded. She was identified as Ms Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.

On her Facebook page, Ms Parker described herself as the "mornin' reporter" at WDBJ with an interest in ballroom dancing. WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst tweeted that he and Ms Parker were "very much in love", adding: "I am numb."

He added: "She worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancee."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS, XINHUA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline '2 US journalists shot dead during 'live' TV broadcast'. Print Edition | Subscribe