An unknown gunman shot and killed a reporter and videographer for a CBS affiliate in Virginia in a shooting that was being broadcast live this morning. Police are still looking for the suspect, and trying to determine the motive.
Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, a reporter and cameraman respectively for WDBJ-TV, died shortly after 6:45 a.m., said the station’s general manager, Jeff Marks. “We heard screaming and then we heard nothing,” Marks said.
Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia, when the shots were fired. Gardner was shot in the back during the shooting and is in surgery.
Update at 10:40 ET
Authorities have stated that they believe the suspect is a disgruntled former employee of the news station.
“We believe it’s a disgruntled employee of the station, and they’re in pursuit,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe on WTOP’s Ask the Governor program.
Update at 11:30 ET
Reports indicate that the gunman used the Twitter handle @bryce_williams7 and recorded video of the shooting. He apparently tweeted about the event and Twitter has suspended the account.
While Bryce Williams is the name of a reporter from the station, Vester L. Fanagan is the real name of the reported gunman.
Update at 12:10 ET
The August County Sheriff’s Office has stated that Flanagan was the gunman and that he has killed himself on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County. Local news reports indicate that Flanagan shot himself.
Update at 1:30 ET
Local station WDBJ7 has retracted a report that stated Flanagan died as a result of his injuries. Flanagan is reported as alive and in critical condition. Virginia State Police posted on Facebook that Flanagan was transported to a local hospital where he is being treated for life-threatening injuries.
Update at 2:30 ET
The Virginia Secretary of Public Safety has announced that Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 p.m.
Update at 2:45 ET
ABC News reports that Flanagan sent a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family” at 8:26 Wednesday morning. Flanagan cites being a “gay, black man” and the discrimination he has faced as a result. Flanagan claimed the shooting in Charleston was the “tipping point” that pushed him to shoot his victims today. Reports indicate that Flanagan suspected Alison Parker, one of the victims, of making racist remarks about him in the past.