Two Virginia TV station reporters fatally shot in live report

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Image: YouTube / Screenshot

UPDATE at 8:50 a.m. PST – CNN reports 41-year-old suspect Vester Flanagan has shot himself after being confronted by police and is now in critical condition. He is a former employee of WDBJ7 station.

Reports indicate he captured GoPro footage of the incident and uploaded it onto his Twitter account, which has since been suspended.

UPDATE at 11:40 a.m. PST – Suspect Vester Flanagan has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to officials. Vicki Gardner, the individual being interviewed in the on-air story, is in stable condition following a surgery.

EARLIER:

Two television reporters in Virginia were fatally shot on Wednesday morning while performing a live on-air report.

According to WDBJ7 station in the town of Roanoke in Central Virginia, 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward were killed in an incident at 6:45 a.m. EDT. The gunman is believed to have fired at least half a dozen shots before the station cut the feed back to a shocked anchor.

At the time, they were filming a live segment at a shopping and recreational centre for the station’s morning news program. The woman they were interviewing, Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vicki Gardner, was shot in the back and in surgery.

Video of the incident uploaded onto YouTube shows the two reporters screaming and falling as shots are fired by the assailant.

CNN is reporting the shooter may have been a disgruntled employee of the station. Local police, FBI an ATF are investigating – a manhunt is underway and schools are in lockdown.

Both Parker and Ward were engaged to other co-workers at the station.

Tweets by Christ Hurst, another reporter for the station, indicate he was in love with Parker. She had been working as a morning news reporter for the station for about a year.

Ward was engaged to the morning show producer, reportedly telling his fiance that she was prepared to do something else with her career. It was her last day with the station, she was moving to another station in Charlotte.

“I want to say that the WDBJ7 team is the best news team I’ve worked with in my 42 years of broadcasting, and this kind of loss will resonate in these halls for a long, long time as we remember, in the short lives, what dedicated journalism they produced and what outstanding people they were,” said news station manager Jeffrey Marks.

WDBJ7 statement on shooting

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