Suspected Gunman Shoots Self After Journalists Killed on Air, Official Says

Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN, August 26, 2015

Police say a former WDBJ-TV reporter sought in connection with the on-air slayings of two of the TV station’s employees shot himself Wednesday on Interstate 66 in Virginia after police confronted him, a law enforcement official told CNN.

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The driver refused to stop and sped away before running off the road and crashing, Geller told CNN. Troopers found the driver inside. He had suffered a gunshot wound.

He was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries, Geller said. The driver is believed to be the suspect in the on-air shootings of two WDBJ journalists and an interviewee, she said without naming the driver.

Vester Flanagan, who was being sought in connection with the shootings, was a reporter at WDBJ for about a year using the on-air name, Bryce Williams, according to a former WDBJ employee.

Flanagan was fired from the station, though the reason was not made public, the ex-employee said.

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ABC News reported that it received a fax containing a 23-page manifesto from someone named Bryce Williams, acccording to a tweet. {snip}

Two videos posted on a Twitter account under the name, Bryce Williams, show someone walking up to the WDBJ news crew and pointing a gun at them.

Another tweet says, “I filmed the shooting.” The Facebook and Twitter account were suspended shortly after the tweets.

Twitter

Video shows the gunman approaching WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward as Parker conducted a routine interview about a local story outside Moneta, Virginia.

Ward’s back is to the gunman. Parker is in profile, and the interviewee is facing the gunman. The shooter appears to take his time aiming the gun, presenting it and then withdrawing it, before composing the angle of his video. He opens fire on Parker first. Both Parker and the interviewee scream.

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During the live broadcast around 6:45 a.m., TV viewers saw the camera fall to the ground and caught the briefest glimpse of a man who appeared to point a gun toward the downed cameraman.

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Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were killed at Bridgewater Plaza near Moneta, the station reported later.

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Though Marks has heard that Flanagan had leveled accusations in the past, he said, “I don’t think (reporter) Alison (Parker) and that individual even overlapped here.”

Marks added he was not exaggerating when he says that Parker and photographer Adam Ward were “the kindest and nicest people who worked here. . . . I can’t figure out any connection.”

The woman being interviewed, Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was shot in the back and is in surgery, said Barb Nocera, the chamber’s special projects manager.

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