This morning in Virginia a “disgruntled former employee” of WNCT by the name of the Vester Lee Flanagan, a former weekend anchor known as “Bryce Williams” when on-air, shot and murdered to WNCT employees, Alison Parker (24) and cameraman Adam Ward (27). The violent deaths of two young people are horrible enough, but the fact that it happened on live TV is somehow even worse. Part of it is that Adam Ward’s fiancée, Melissa Ott, who is a morning show producer at WDBJ, “was in the control room and witnessed the footage of the shooting”. Ms. Ott had to see the man she loved gunned down while she was helpless to do anything. That’s hell. Alison Parker was also in a serious relationship with WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, but he was at least spared seeing the live footage. Not that this is much comfort.
According to reports, “Schools in the area are reportedly on lockdown and both directions of Virginia 122 have been closed while officers from Bedford, Franklin County, Virginia State Police and the Virginia Dept. of Game and Inland Fisheries search for the alleged shooter.”
No news has been released yet as to why the monster choose Alison Parker and Adam Ward as his targets. Were they random representatives of the station, or did he have a personal animus against them? Who knows what goes through a psychopath’s mind when he decides to commit murder?
UPDATE: “the suspect in this morning’s on-air shooting in Roanoke, VA, is reportedly in critical condition after shooting himself, according to Augusta County Sheriff’s office. Flanagan/Williams reportedly shot himself after a chase on Virginia’s I-66 highway. Initial reports indicated he had died from the wound, but state police have since clarified that he is still alive.”