There has been an on-air murder of a popular television reporter and her cameraman while they were conducting their morning live show on Wednesday which has hit residents like a death in the family in this small city ROANOKE, Va. surrounded by cattle fields and rolling mountains.
Donna Toliver who lives across the street from WDBJ television station said “Every morning we watch these people on TV, it’s like they’re part of your family”. Most of her Wednesday afternoon are spent in speaking encouraging words to the employees of the station and watching them speak to reporters from around the country as well as across the world.
On Thursday, a moment of silence was observed by WDBJ staff in the memory of journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were shot by gun while conducting an interview focusing tourism.
At about 6.45 a.m. this silence was conducted, which was at the same time that the two were shot. On Thursday, morning show was broadcasted by the station starting at 5 a.m., beginning the newscast with an image of Ward and Parker which was accompanied by the words “In Memory.”
The two were conducting an interview with Vicki Gardner when they were killed. Gardner an official of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce was also shot but he survived.
Police were successful in identifying the shooter as Vester Flanagan who was a former reporter at WDBJ known on-air as Bryce Williams. But while police were in pursuit, he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after crashing the car he was driving.
This shooting was seen in the morning news and later the footage on twitter and Facebook was seen by many residents. The video showed the attack from the shooter perspective.
A community activist in Roanoke, Shawn Hunter said in his statement that, he saw the Wednesday morning report and at first could not believe that Parker could have been the target. He’d been interviewed by all three journalists involved.
He said, Parker, in particular, made herself available to everybody in the community, and both she and Ward were known for their funny on-camera antics.
He added, “You’d always see her in City Market,” the downtown mall, he said. “She would be interviewing the mayor and you could walk up to her and say ‘How are you doing Alison?’ and she would let you take a picture with her.”
She also participated in a Roanoke fundraiser, “Dancing with the Stars,” where she coached dancers and performed. “She was like a celebrity”.
Cook said, “They had the biggest hearts, and you could tell that they loved the viewers,”
May their soul rest in Peace…