Virginia TV Shooting: Chilling Image Alerted Station to Killer Vester Flanagan

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Horrified fiancee of murdered cameraman watched in the control room as her future husband was killedHe was a fired television reporter with a history of conflicts at work and his rage apparently stoked by racial grievances, from the Charleston church shooting to his claims that he faced discrimination. The boyfriend of a reporter killed in an on-air shooting appeared at the station where both worked on Thursday, telling his co-workers and viewers that he wants to tell his girlfriend’s story even as he grieves.Colleagues had brought in a cake and balloons to mark her last shift at the Virginia station before she was set to move to Charlotte, North Carolina, with her future husband.

And when he sought revenge Wednesday, gunning down two employees from his former station, he used the tools of an oversharing age, ensuring his crime was broadcast live, video recorded from multiple angles and posted on social media. Maeser told AFP she was just rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn when she got an unexpected telephone call from her news director, telling her to hurry into work immediately. Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, identified by the authorities as the gunman, waited until Alison Parker and Adam Ward, young journalists at WDBJ in Roanoke, were on air, then killed them while recording on his own video camera. The news became personal for the CBS affiliate in Virginia when the two were fatally shot during a live broadcast Wednesday morning by a disgruntled former colleague.

As the chase for him was on, he wrote about the shooting on Twitter, uploaded his video to Facebook and sent a manifesto to ABC News that spoke admiringly of mass killers and said that as a black, gay man he had faced discrimination and sexual harassment. Station anchor Chris Hurst, Parker’s boyfriend, recalled on air how Parker’s voice could light up a room with its kindness and joy, and how excited she was about her work, including an upcoming piece on hospice care. “Alison, what great things she could have done,” Hurst said, adding that he will take a brief break from his anchor role. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were killed, according to their TV station, WDBJ of Roanoke, while the person they were interviewing, Vicki Gardner, was wounded and was later in stable condition after surgery.

Outside the studio gates, dozens of WDBJ viewers solemnly converged before sunset to place bouquets of flowers and shiny remembrance balloons under a tree wrapped with two black mourning ribbons. Parker and Ward were the youthful, energetic and ambitious earlymorning reporting duo at WDBJ, a CBS affiliate that covers mainly rural southern Virginia with an editorial staff of about 50.

Shortly after the shooting, a post to Flanagan’s Twitter account said, “I filmed the shooting see Facebook,” and a shocking video recording from the gunman’s point of view was posted to his Facebook page. Ott was in the control room and witnessed her fiance’s death in shock — and as a fellow New Jersey native and close friend, it fell on Maeser to console her throughout the day. “I was supposed to be at their wedding. The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

You don’t find that every day,” said Ashley Talley, who was assistant news director at WCTI-TV in New Bern, North Carolina, when she hired Parker right out of college. McBroom said she ‘wasn’t comfortable’ around him and her co-workers remained vigilante, fearing he could do something threatening. ‘We (were) busy trying to keep her calm and hopeful. We are dealing with this together.’ Just before 7am Wednesday morning, Ward was filming Parker as she interviewed Vicki Gardner, with the local chamber of commerce, about an upcoming event to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Smith Lake. Police officers followed Flanagan, driving a rental car, and troopers tried to pull him over shortly before 11:30 a.m. in northern Virginia’s Fauquier County, but he sped away and crashed. WDBJ’s general manager later came on the air to confirm their deaths: ‘It’s my very very sad duty to report… that Alison and Adam died this morning.’ Meanwhile, Flanagan was already making his way out of Moneta.

It’s believed that he first went to a nearby airport where he switched cars with a rental he had waiting and then started driving east towards the Washington, DC area. However, it wasn’t until five hours later that he was finally brought to a stop in Fauquier County, Virginia, about a three hours drive northeast of Moneta – just before noon.

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