Roanoke community still reeling after two journalists killed in on-air shooting

Alison Parker, Adam Ward
CORRECTS YEAR FLANAGAN WAS FIRED TO 2013 FROM EARLIER THIS YEAR - This undated photograph made available by WDBJ-TV shows reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward. Parker and Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station in 2013. (Courtesy of WDBJ-TV via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

ROANOKE, Va. (WRIC) — It’s been one day since Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot to death yesterday morning while reporting live on air at the Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake.

Parker and Ward were conducting a live interview around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday when the gunman, Vester Flanagan, approached from behind. Video shows him aiming the gun then withdrawing it before raising it again and opening fire. He’s believed to have fired six or seven times, fatally striking Parker and Ward and injuring interviewee Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Gardner underwent surgery and is currently in a medically induced coma. She is now in good condition, according to 8News sister station WSLS.

Vicki Gardner (Photo: WSLS)
Vicki Gardner (Photo: WSLS)

Parker and Ward both grew up in the Roanoke area. Parker had just turned 24 and Ward was 27-years-old.

WDBJ in Virginia shared this image of reporter Alison Parker and Adam Ward after reporting that they had been killed in a shooting on Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo: WDBJ-TV/AP)
WDBJ in Virginia shared this image of reporter Alison Parker and Adam Ward after reporting that they had been killed in a shooting on Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo: WDBJ-TV/AP)

Alison’s father, Andy Parker, expressed his grief while appearing on Fox News on Wednesday.

“I’ve been alternating between the shock and the grief of it,” Andy Parker said during the interview with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. “I’ve been holding up I guess OK, but I’ve been crying my eyes out all day long. It’s gone back and forth, and now it’s … the anger is starting to creep in there, because this should not happen. It shouldn’t have happened to someone like Alison.”

Andy Parker stood beside his daughter’s boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, during the Fox News interview. Alison and Hurst had been dating for nine months and had just moved in together.

Hurst said he was “not surprised” after Flanagan was identified as the alleged gunman.

“He was someone who was known by people at the station for volatility,” Hurst told Fox News.

Flanagan, who also went by the name Bryce Williams on-air when he worked as a reporter, had a history of clashing with co-workers. He was fired from WDBJ in February 2013 and sued the station a year later, claiming he was harassed, discriminated against and was the subject of retaliation.

Andy Parker said that he spoke to Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe following the shooting, and that McAuliffe was supportive of any gun control measures that the grieving father pursues.

“I’m going to do something … whatever it takes,” he said.

Hundreds of viewers and supporters came out last night to honor the slain journalists.

Community supporters sing a hymn during a vigil for journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were killed during a shooting in Moneta, Va., Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo: Autumn Parry/The News & Advance/AP)
Community supporters sing a hymn during a vigil for journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were killed during a shooting in Moneta, Va., Aug. 26, 2015. (Photo: Autumn Parry/The News & Advance/AP)

“During a situation like this we always come together. We always pray,” WDBJ viewer Dalton Lucas told 8News. “We stick together as a community and we always push forward.”

The people who worked every day with Alison Parker and Adam Ward, including photographer Sam Doyle, say that they are deeply impacted by the loss of their coworkers and friends.

“I mean, passionate about what they do,” Doyle said. “Futures in front of them, very bright.”

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