Virginia shootings make for tough media decisions

28 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Anchor who witnessed murder of WDBJ-TV co-workers on live TV: ‘Nothing could prepare us for this’.

ROANOKE, Va. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring joined several hundred Roanoke-area residents Thursday night at a candlelight vigil outside television station WDBJ to remember station employees Alison Parker and Adam Ward.The on-air murders of two Virginia journalists was a tragedy waiting to happen carried out by a “classic injustice collector,” a law enforcement expert said Thursday.“It sounds so cliche, but it was just a typical day,” McBroom told the Daily News hours after a fired co-worker fatally shot reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. “She went out on her live shot.

Today, with his 24-year-old daughter having been gunned down on live television, he is the nation’s latest crusader for gun control. “This is my life’s work,” said Mr. But what authorities found in his car hints he considered remaining on the run: a briefcase with three license plates, a wig, a shawl, an umbrella and sunglasses. Parker. “I’ve been robbed of a treasure that I will never see again, so the only thing I can do is make something happen where someone else’s treasure isn’t taken — and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stop.” Mr.

They were killed Wednesday by gunman Vester Flanagan as they interviewed Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. Parker, 62, who spoke in a telephone interview Thursday evening, has appeared on television extensively since Wednesday’s shooting, appearing composed, defiant — and often tearful — as he shares his new mission to fight the National Rifle Association, the nation’s leading champion of gun rights. “I’m for the Second Amendment,” he said on CNN Thursday morning, “but there has to be a way to force politicians who are cowards in the pockets of the N.R.A. to make sensible laws to make sure crazy people can’t get guns.” Citing previous killings by people with mental illnesses, Mr. As authorities continued to investigate the shooting, family, colleagues and residents tried to cope with the brazen incident that hit the small southwest Virginia city — and figure out whether anything could have been done to stop it. I thought there was some kind of explanation.” Everyone’s worst fears were finally confirmed on the live audio still coming in from the murder scene: “So we heard, you know, cops confirm ‘three down.’ And we knew.” “I wasn’t really comfortable around him,” McBroom recounted. “I would hear stories about how he would lose his temper. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia renewed his pledge to push for what he called “common-sense gun restrictions” — there was a feeling around the country that it would be as difficult as always for gun safety advocates to turn the killings in Roanoke into legislative changes.

There’d be incidents.” “He was very belligerent, just said some really horrible things,” she recalled. “In the days that followed that, everybody was pretty vigilant … Grief-stricken parents in other communities synonymous with tragedy — like Columbine, Colo., and Sandy Hook, Conn. — have made similar vows to change the system with little to show for their efforts. “I hope this time will be different for us,” Mr. The owners of a shopping plaza where two journalists were fatally shot on air have replaced the floorboards in a breezeway where the shooting occurred.

And then it got quiet.” McBroom said the loss of Parker, a former intern who joined the station’s reporting staff last year, was devastating on a personal and professional level. “It breaks my heart, because there was so much potential there,” said McBroom. “She could have gone all the way. His injustice was that he viewed himself as someone who should be here on network television news and unfortunately he found the most terrible way to get there and to be that lead story and be on it. “ “Since the Virginia Tech shooting, the FBI profilers – when that gunman sent the video tape and it was broadcast on a network TV broadcast – they said the next step is not to make a manifesto on video,” Miller said. “The next step is to record the thing live while you’re doing it and to distribute that.

A woman who worked with Vester Flanagan at an insurance company’s call center says she had a confrontation with him that frightened her enough to report it to the company. Officials at the station held a news conference, saying that while Flanagan had reacted angrily when he was fired in 2013 for erratic behavior and bad performance, workers who had encountered him around town in the past 2 ½ years had no run-ins. Michelle Kibodeaux told The Associated Press on Thursday that while the two worked at UnitedHealthcare in Roanoke that Flanagan was loud and boisterous, with a booming laugh. The shoe’s on the other foot.’ He said, ‘You don’t know me well enough to judge me.'” The Virginia medical examiner’s office says the man who fatally shot a TV news reporter and cameraman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Obama called the killings “one more argument for why we need to look at how we can reduce gun violence in this country.” On the presidential campaign trail, gun control immediately became a partisan flash point between Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leading Democrat, and several Republicans.

Clinton called for “common-sense reforms to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals, the violently unstable, domestic abusers and even terrorists who find it pretty easy in our country to get ahold of weapons if they so choose.” Republicans, including Donald J. Flanagan shot himself as police were closing in on him Wednesday, about five hours after he fatally shot two of his former co-workers from a Roanoke TV station. Flanagan, 41, who had a troubled career at several news outlets, also stopped to send a 22-page letter to ABC News, saying he had suffered years of discrimination, and that the June shootings of black Bible study group members at a Charleston church had sent him “over the top.” He called the document a “suicide note.” He texted a friend after the killings, according to the search warrant affidavit, saying he had done “something stupid.” The chase ended some 200 miles from the shooting scene, when he shot himself in the head, police said in the document.

McAuliffe also vetoed two measures this year that would have expanded gun rights: one would have made it easier for Virginians to purchase machine guns, and another would have allowed residents to carry loaded shotguns and rifles in their vehicles. Jessica Albert fondly remembered how Parker used to ask her to pitch stories about Marines in Mississippi to her boss so that Parker could then use the footage in the Jacksonville, North Carolina, market. Form 4473, known as a “firearms transaction record,” and passed a standard background check, which in Virginia is conducted instantly by the State Police. Parker, were spurred into activism after losing loved ones or becoming victims themselves. “Some people are exhausted and have thrown up their arms and say, ‘I’m done, I just can’t do it anymore.’ ” said Patricia Maisch, who helped stop a 2011 massacre in Tucson that killed six and left a congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, gravely wounded. “But,” Ms.

Maisch said Thursday, “I am not going away.” In Virginia, a state with painful memories of the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech, Lori Haas, whose daughter Emily was wounded there, struck a similar note. Heather Fay, general manager at a Jack Brown’s beer and burger restaurant, said she received a 15 to 20 page letter from Vester Flanagan three or four months ago. Zuber said. “They cry, they hug, and then they get the job done.” Across the state and beyond, the shootings prompted a renewed debate on gun control. Haas, who is today the Virginia state director for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a national advocacy group. “As the frustration of the general public grows, the movement grows and the demands will grow, and our elected leaders will be booted out of office if they don’t do something.” That was the message from Mr.

They said a background check was conducted, and there was nothing in Flanagan’s criminal or mental health history that should have prohibited the sale. He served four years on the Henry County Board of Supervisors after winning election in 2003 — and is now running again for his old seat, often introducing himself as “Alison’s Dad.” On Thursday, as he made plans for a private celebration of life for his daughter, he said he had not given much thought to his own campaign.

McAuliffe also took to the media to call upon lawmakers to tighten gun laws, prompting ire from some Republicans who noted that one measure the governor has pushed for would not have prohibited Flanagan’s purchase. Zuber, WDBJ’s news director, said her reporters would continue to confront the task of covering a story that they have an all-too-personal stake in. The gun-control debate, she said, would be a part of that. “I think our journalists are up for the challenge, and they realize that there will be a political side to this, as gun control is discussed,” she said. “We have people in the newsroom that I’m sure that, if you polled them, would come down on one side or the other of that issue.

The woman who survived an on-air shooting is doing better at a hospital a day after a disgruntled former reporter wounded her and killed a TV cameraman and a reporter. In seeking a search warrant for the car Flanagan was driving Wednesday, Virginia State Police had to give a magistrate in Fauquier (faw-KEER) County probable cause. “Investigators identified Vestor Lee Flanagan II as a person of interested based on a text message sent to a friend making reference to having done something stupid,” police wrote.

New director Dan Dennison wrote that as Flanagan was finally being escorted out, he placed a wooden cross in Dennison’s hand and told him, “You’ll need this.” In a letter to the judge, Flanagan writes, “How heartless can you be? The boyfriend of a television reporter who was slain during an on-air interview says the two met at a Christmas party for WBDJ last year and hit it off. He also packed her lunch. “I’d never done that before for any woman, for anyone, but I wanted to do it for Alison because I loved her so much and I just took so much joy in something so minor as cutting strawberries for her.” “It’s the last that I ever heard from her,” Hurst said. “I saw it before I went to sleep.

Nearby, reporters and trucks from media outlets across the country lined up, doing their own live shots or working on stories about the shooting and the station. Just before the moment of silence, anchor Kim McBroom joined hands with weatherman Leo Hirsbrunner and anchor Steve Grant, who came in from sister station KYTV in Springfield, Missouri, to help the grieving station. The statement from Andy Parker says: “Our vivacious, ambitious, smart, engaging, hilarious, beautiful and immensely talented Alison was taken from the world.

Hirsbrunner said: “I don’t even know how to do weather on a day like this.” His voice trembled at times while he finished giving the temperatures around the Roanoke area. The station then went into a series of news pieces on the shooting, including ones about the criminal investigation, church services and a vigil at the White House.

Senior Vice President of Broadcasting Marcia Burdick of parent-company Schurz Communications answered phones, greeted guests at the door, and did whatever she could to keep the newsroom moving.

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