TV Reporter, Cameraman Killed On-Air After Gunman Opens Fire in Virginia
ABC NEWS — A shooting on live television has left a reporter and a cameraman dead, according to their news station. Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were killed in the field during a live news segment this morning in Moneta, Virginia, according to their station, WDBJ-TV, a CBS affiliate serving the Roanoke-Lynchburg television market. A third person was injured in the shooting, sources familiar with the situation said. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe described the unnamed alleged gunman in a radio interview as a disgruntled employee of the station whom police are currently pursuing, adding that an arrest is “imminent.” The incident was reported at 6:45 a.m. and the Franklin County sheriff confirmed that it is considered an active-shooter situation, adding that the suspect is believed to be male. Franklin County school officials said three schools are on lockdown in the area of the shooting and that police officers are offering additional security. Neighboring Bedford County Public Schools said, “We have placed all schools on perimeter lockdown status following a shooting in Franklin County this morning. This is a precautionary measure suggested by law enforcement.” The shooting itself took place at Bridgewater Plaza, a recreational facility with shops, restaurants, a mini golf course and boat rentals. WDBJ president and general manager Jeffrey A. Marks went on air this morning confirming the two deaths and noting that both victims were in relationships with other staffers at the station. He said it was his “very very sad duty” to report their deaths, and noted that the shooting is under investigation. “We have other members of the team with us today holding back tears, frankly,” Marks said. Marks said Parker was a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, while Ward was a graduate of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. Marks and the anchors confirmed on air that Ward’s fiancee was a morning producer at the station who was celebrating her last day at work today before starting a new job. Parker reportedly brought in balloons as part of the celebration before going out for the fatal live report. Jay Webb, the news director at ABC affiliate station WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg who previously worked at WDBJ for several years and knew both victims, said he knew Ward well. “Unthinkable,” he told ABC News this morning. “It‘s a very hard time in our newsroom here this morning, as it is I‘m sure across newsrooms across the country this morning.” He said he also knew Parker because she recently interned at his station before getting the job at WDBJ, which is owned by Schurz Communications of South Bend, Indiana. “Alison was vibrant,” he said. “Both extremely good people, will be missed.” The FBI’s Roanoke office, a satellite of its field office in Richmond, is sending agents to the scene, the agency said. The New York Police Department, as a precaution, said it is moving critical-response vehicles to television stations in the city.