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Community Mourns, Seeks Answers in Journalists’ Murder

Virginia police are still looking for answers in the murder that played out on live television Wednesday.

A former television journalist shot and killed two ex-colleagues just as they were delivering a report in Roanoke. The incident has left many people heartbroken and confused.

Memorials and prayer vigils covered the Roanoke community as investigators searched for clues and answers at the home of accused gunman Vester Lee Flanagan II, who was known on air as Bryce Williams.

WDBJ reporter were in the middle of an interview when police say Flanagan opened fire, killing them both.

As journalists, we’re deeply affected by the senseless shooting deaths of WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward. As CBN News video journalist Mark Bautista points out, in the news business, “We’re all Alison’s and Adam’s.”

The woman they were interviewing — Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce — was also shot and seriously injured.

“It did not register, didn’t even realize it was gunshots. It probably should have, but she was doing a little feature story,” WDBJ ancho Kimberly McBroom said.

Ward was engaged to marry a producer at his station. Parker, 24, was dating WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, and they were also planning to get married.

“Today, I lost the love of my life and it wasn’t slow, but it was incredibly painful and it was immediate,” Hurst said.

Police captured Flanagan after a crash, but he later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“At some point in his life it would appear things were spiraling out of control,” Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton said.

Flanagan was fired from WDBJ two years ago. He was also let go from a Florida station in 2000.

In both cases, he said he was wrongfully fired, blaming racial attacks against him and saying he faced harassment for being gay. Employees at his station say his charges are false.

Flanagan singled out Parker and Ward as well, posting a video of his attack online and going on a Twitter rant about the victims. Police have removed that evidence.

In a manifesto to ABC News, he cited June’s Charleston church massacre as what set him off, writing that he was a “human powder keg.”

“Consistently, with every one of these shooters, they believe what is wrong in their life is our fault,” former FBI agent Brad Garrett said.

In the end, Flanagan’s rage claimed its victims in a terrible tragedy that shocked the nation.

Report via CBN News



 

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