Police Searching for Former Employee in Connection to On-Air Virginia Shooting

26 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alison Parker, 24, killed on the air, was a gifted TV reporter.

Police are in pursuit of a suspect believed to have fatally shot two local news reporters during a live broadcast Wednesday morning at a shopping plaza in Virginia. In his final moments, WDBJ-TV7 cameraman Adam Ward managed to record a glimpse of the fleeing suspect, who has been identified as Vester Lee Flanagan II of Roanoke, Va. The 24-year-old Virginia-based reporter and 2012 James Madison University graduate was one of the most promising journalists the university had seen, according to Brad Jenkins, the general manager of the student newspaper “The Breeze,” where Parker worked as news editor. “She was an excellent journalist,” Jenkins said. “I pictured seeing her on national news one day — she was that good. She had the ‘it’ factor.” Parker, a morning reporter at the CBS affiliate station in Roanoke, was fatally shot Wednesday morning while on camera for a live report on the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake — a reservoir about an hour southeast of Roanoke that has become a popular vacation spot for fishing and boating.

Prior to that, she worked at WCTI (Channel 12) in Jacksonville, N.C., covering news stories, filling in on the anchor desk and producing content for the station’s Web site. “She was so dedicated to just getting the story,” said Jenkins, who noted that Parker regularly returned to campus to train and give career advice to the university’s journalism students. “She was a dogged reporter, but she was kind. . . . He tweeted Wednesday morning that she had just celebrated her birthday and that the two had just moved in together. “We were together almost nine months,” he wrote. “It was the best nine months of our lives.

Ward was engaged to a morning producer at the same network, and had recently told a colleague “I’m going to get out of news,” colleague Jean Jadhon told The Roanoke Times.

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