2 Virginia TV station workers fatally shot on air, suspect dead

Aug 26, 2015, 6:40 AM | Updated: 11:37 am
(Twitter Photo)...
(Twitter Photo)
(Twitter Photo)

Two Virginia TV journalists were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday morning and the man suspected of shooting them also died.

A third person who was being interviewed during the live TV report was also shot. She underwent surgery and was in stable condition.

Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward of WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, were shot during an interview in nearby Moneta.

Suspect Vester Lee Flanagan II, who had worked at the station under a different name, died at a hospital after a car chase with state troopers. Flanagan had crashed the car and troopers said they found him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Flanagan, 41, had worked at the station under the name Bryce Williams.

The station tweeted and wrote in a story on its website that the incident
happened at a shopping center in central Virginia. The station said law enforcement officials were on the scene.

Parker, 24, was interviewing an economic development official around 6:45 a.m. in Franklin County, looking at the upcoming 50th anniversary festivities for Smith Mountain Lake.

She was working with Ward, station general manager Jeff Marks said.

Parker was smiling when suddenly at least eight shots were heard. Parker screamed, ran and could be heard saying, “Oh my God.”

As the camera dropped to the ground, it captured what appeared to be a fleeting image of the shooter. The person was wearing black pants and a blue top and appears to be holding a handgun.

A Twitter account that may have belonged to the suspect had a video of the shooting from a first-person vantage point and previous tweets accusing Parker of making racist comments.

The account was suspended.

Virginia State Police posted to Facebook of the capture of the suspect:

Franklin County Shooting Suspect In Custody

Shortly before 11:30 a.m., Virginia State Police spotted the suspect vehicle headed eastbound on Interstate 66. With emergency lights activated the Virginia State Police trooper initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. Minutes later, the suspect vehicle ran off the road and crashed. The troopers approached the vehicle and found the male driver suffering from a gunshot wound. He is being transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

The male driver is believed to be the same male subject who shot three people this morning in Franklin County during a television news interview.

ABC News reported that the network had gotten a 23-page fax from someone claiming to be Williams. The network said it turned the documents over to authorities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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2 Virginia TV station workers fatally shot on air, suspect dead