Update: The suspect in the murder of two WDBJ news journalists has been identified as former WDBJ on-air anchor Bryce Williams (real name Vester Lee Flanagan III), who was pronounced dead after shooting himself as he was being pursued by police on Interstate 66. According to Deadline, he was identified after posting video from the shooting on his Twitter account, along with other entries. As well, he apparently sent ABC News a 23-page fax prior to the shooting, and authorities are now looking further into it.
The original story is as follows:
Tragedy strikes without warning every day all over the planet, and on Wednesday morning it happened in Virginia, as two employees for news station WDBJ were shot and killed during a live news broadcast. The two victims were reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward, both of whom were pronounced dead following the shooting.
The horrific incident took place at the Bridgewater Plaza at Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, Virginia, as the two journalists were in the middle of filming an interview about tourism in the area. A series of shots rang out, and before anyone seemed to understand what was happening, the camera dropped and the newsfeed cut back to the station. At this point, no suspects have been identified or arrested, nor has any sense of motive for the heinous crime been determined. The ATF’s Twitter account confirmed that a manhunt is currently in motion.
A James Madison University alum, Parker had just turned 24, and it was revealed during a later WDBJ newsroom announcement that she’d recently moved in with fellow WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, with whom she’d been in a relationship for the past nine months. To make things all the more devastating, it was actually Parker’s last day with the station.
A 27-year-old former Virginia Tech student, Ward was also in a relationship with a fellow WDBJ employee, Melissa Ott. Sadly, she was in the control room during the incident and saw it happen live. I can’t imagine how disturbing this must have been for everyone involved.
While I definitely don’t advise it, there is a video of the incident that you can watch here. Though not grisly or gory, it’s still very rough stuff and watching isn’t advisable if you’re at work or around children.
We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to the family and friends of Parker and Ward during their time of mourning. Hopefully those responsible will be caught soon.