Virginia Gunman Kills 2 Flees then Turns Gun on Himself

Virginia Gunman Kills 2 Flees then Turns Gun on Himself

In a developing story out of Virginia where a TV reporter and cameraman were fatality shot this morning, the gunman has apparently shot himself, and is being treated with life-threatening injuries.

The TV crew (WDBJ-TV), reporter Alison Parker, 24, was shot and killed around 6:45 a.m. eastern time, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, was fatality shot. The shooting happened while the news crew was doing a live broadcast on tourism in central Virginia. A video of the shooting has surfaced, which shows an extended arm holding a handgun and firing repeatedly as Parker tried to run away.

Becky Coyner with dispatch and records at the Augusta County Sheriff's Office says the suspect is 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II, of Roanoke. He subsequently turned the gun on himself while law enforcement chased him on the interstate. Flanagan is described to have been a disgruntled current or former TV station employee.

Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce was injured in incident Wednesday morning. She was being interviewed by reporter Alison Parker around 6:45 a.m., eastern time, about tourism.

Jeffrey Marks, the president and general manager of WDBJ-TV, said hours after the Wednesday morning shooting that police advised employees to stay inside. At this time there is no known motive of the shooting.

He told The Associated Press: "Police have advised us that as long as this person is on the loose, we should stay in the building. We have police protection." Marks says about 50 people work at WDBJ7. "It's the kind of place where it's all brothers and sisters. We're all just real heartbroken," he said.

ABC News says on its website that sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, it received a fax. It describes it as a lengthy document of 23 pages. ABC News says it has turned the document over to authorities. ABC News did not offer any other details.

Both journalists were engaged to be married to other people.

UPDATE: 2 p.m. central time

The third victim in the fatal shooting during a live TV news broadcast in Virginia is in stable condition. Chris Turnbull, spokesman for Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va., gave the condition of Vicki Gardner at a news conference Wednesday, several hours after the shooting.

Gardner is executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. She was being interviewed about tourism in the area when gunfire erupted, killing reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward of WDBJ-TV.

Authorities say suspect Vester Flanagan, a former co-worker of the two slain employees, died later of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officials have said they don't know a motive. Flanagan went by Bryce Williams on air and has been described as a disgruntled, angry man who was fired from the station.

Digital Edition

  • Security Today Magazine - November December 2020

    November December 2020


    • The Use of Technology
    • Improving Emergency Response
    • Can Zero Trust be Trusted?
    • What is on the Horizon?
    • 2021 Security Trends

    View This Issue

  • Environmental Protection
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Infrastructure Solutions Group
  • Spaces4Learning
  • Campus Security & Life Safety