WDBJ remembers Alison Parker, Adam Ward, killed on live TV

Diane Pathieu Image
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Community remembers TV news crew
WDBJ paused to honor reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward, who were fatally shot during a live report Wednesday.

ROANOKE, Va. (WLS) -- WDBJ's morning show paused Thursday to honor reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward, one day after they were fatally shot on live television in Virginia.

In a show of solidarity, the entire news team stood behind the station's general manager, Jeff Mark, who said his team is doing as well as can be expected. Their hearts are heavy but also filled with gratitude from the overwhelming support from the community, he said.

"All the people who have been here all night camped out and have brought flowers and placards and just want to say something to us, we are gratified by that," Mark said.

WDBJ held a moment of silence for Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, at 6:45 a.m. Thursday -- 24 hours after the shooting.

"We are approaching a moment that none of us will ever forget," said anchor Kim McBroom, her voice faltering. Pictures of Parker and Ward were displayed while the show went silent.

The pair, who worked together on the morning show for nearly a year, were in the middle of a live interview a local shopping center Wednesday morning when Vester Lee Flanagan walked up to them and opened fire.

TV viewers heard eight of 15 shots. They saw Parker scream and run, and heard her crying "Oh my God!" as she fell. After Ward was shot, he also fell to the ground. His camera captured a fleeting image of the suspect holding a handgun.

The subject of their interview, Vicki Gardner, was wounded. On Thursday, Gardner was still hospitalized in good condition.

Flanagan, 41, was a former news anchor who went by Bryce Williams on air. He planned the shooting, recorded it himself and later posted the video online, officials said. ABC News is not showing the video of the fatal shooting

Hours after the attack, Virginia State Police spotted Flanagan's rental car, which crashed after a brief chase. Investigators said he shot himself and later died.

Investigators searched Flanagan's home for evidence on Thursday.

A man identifying himself as Flanagan faxed what he called a "suicide note" to ABC News a few hours after the shooting. It was 23 pages long. The fax portrayed a deeply angry man, chronicling his grievances.

Flanagan's anger had apparently been building since he was fired from WDBJ two years ago . Mark, WDBJ-TV general manager, said allegations by Flanagan were investigated and deemed unfounded.

"Eventually after many incidences of his anger coming to the floor, we dismissed him. He did not take that well," said Mark, WDBJ-TV general manager.

But WDBJ's Thursday morning newscast was not about the shooter. It was a time for their colleagues to grieve and share their stories with viewers.

Alison Parker was in a relationship with the station's evening anchor, Chris Hurst. He described her in a Facebook post Wednesday as "the most radiant woman" he ever met.

"I lost the love of my life," Hurst said. "It was not slow. It was incredibly painful. It was immediate."

Adam Ward was engaged to the morning show's producer, who watched from the control room as he was shot. Ward was known as a happy-go-lucky guy, a practical joker and a go-getter, who seldom missed a football game at his alma mater, Virginia Tech.

Parker's father, Andy, vowed to fight for gun legislation, so no other families have to suffer.

"Doing something about closing loop holes and background checks and making sure crazy people don't get guns," Parker's father.

He released the following statement on Wednesday:

"Barbara, Drew, and I are numb, devastated and I find my grief unbearable. Alison was our bright, shining light and it was cruelly extinguished by yet another crazy person with a gun. She excelled at everything she did and was loved by everyone she touched. She loved us dearly, and we talked to her every single day. Not hearing her voice again crushes my soul. Our family can only take solace in the fact that although her life was brief, she was so happy with it. She lived it to the fullest and her spirit will always be with us."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.