A Roanoke, Virginia news crew was attacked on camera during a live interview this morning. roanoke.com is reporting that “At least two people are dead after shots were fired at Smith Mountain Lake. Franklin County deputies are searching for a suspect after multiple shots were fired at Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake Wednesday morning, according to a sheriff’s office spokesman. Part of the incident was caught on video during WDBJ’s morning broadcast.” Why the news crew was targeted isn’t known. According to Fox News, “The two killed were identified as reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, by colleagues on air at WDBJ.” More as it becomes available. Auto-play video of the shooting below . . .
fox is reporting they were taping a spot on tourism in the area and encouraging people to visit the area.
BREAKING – 10:37 AM – Gunman is believed to be a disgruntled fired station ex-employee…
Area law enforcement is currently in pursuit. He has been ID’d and is in Roanoke now. He is armed with at least a handgun and possibly body armor.
Suspect Vester Lee Flanagan (Air name Bryce Williams) Twitter feed (now suspended) claims the reporter Alison Parker made racist comments to him and cameraman Adam Ward ‘went to human resources on him’.
WHSV News reports suspect committed suicide.
Apparently he posted videos of himself committing the crime to twitter, along with rants about discrimination.
I always figured the next jump in “fame” of spree killers would be attacking during live televised broadcasts. In the age of DVR’s, the video would be viewed millions of times. I guess that time is here. Prayers for the friends and families of the victims. Let’s hope the perp ends up with a toe tag shortly.
What the hell?
Should have been a DGU.
That’s in extremely poor taste. In any event, these people got caught completely off guard. They had no chance.
While I agree, these two people were flat out ambushed. Certainly, having a firearm on you would be preferable to no firearm. However, the two victims didn’t a chance.
When a committed person approaches you silently from behind and strikes without any indication or warning, your chances of surviving the attack are extremely low, whether or not you have a firearm.
A shrewd stealth-attacker is virtually guaranteed to kill a few victims. The advantage of a firearm is that armed bystanders can immediately engage the stealth-attacker and limit his/her carnage. Unfortunately, a stealth-attacker has the element of surprise which, as this video illustrates, is devastating.
Note that a stealth-attacker does NOT need a firearm to be highly effective. A large knife could be equally effective. A sword would be even better. (With minimal practice, an attacker with a sword could decapitate two people before anyone in the vicinity would even begin to react/move.) A stealth-attacker could also use a Garrote wire or even just a steel rod (as a bludgeon) to devastating effect as well.
In the LiveLeak enhanced pic the gunman appears *very* determined…
Let’s hope he’s bagged quickly.
I love reading these articles because they’re short but inmtofarive.
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As being reported if you slow or freeze frame the video when the camera falls to the ground THE GUNMAN IS SHOWN IN BLUE JACKET. Police looking to enhance the original video.
Edit- Follow down a few on that Twitter link, LiveLeak has an enhanced pic.
Gunman appears light-skinned.
It is too bad the image is so blurred and distorted. A nice photo of the attacker would be immensely helpful to facilitate his prompt capture.
This going to get ugly, oh boy
It sucks that when we hear about this sort of thing now we don’t think “that’s terrible” but we think “here we go again”.
Odd, yet ironic some how. Although these people can’t “figure out” that they are part of the mass murderer/spree killer equation, it’s pretty obvious. Lets evaluate how many theater shootings we’ve had before and after aurora (yes, even the fake one.) It’s odd we have had 2 within a month of the verdict. Is it possible the talking heads showing it all the time gave these people a “great idea?” I mean, they show everything from cars to food on TV to get people to buy into it why would murder be much different?
I hope a good guy with a gun brings the person who did this to justice. It will be interesting to see what their motivations were.
The freeze frame of the (alleged) shooter is circulating all over social media here in Roanoke. I hope they nab this (alleged) scum soon. The cries for gun control, following this, Virginia Tech, and the Back Street gay bar shootings, have already begun in earnest.
I bet the shooter had either a real or imaginary relationship with the reporter and went full tilt when something didn’t go his way.
Public faces, especially pretty female ones, attract lunatic fixations with regularity.
We’ll hear how the shooter has a history of mental illness, is a prohibited person and still managed to acquire a firearm.
Police are likely looking through her past reports to see what sort of stories she’s covered and looking in the reports for suspicious persons in the background.
I wondered about this as well.
Yep, actress Rebecca Schaeffer comes to mind.
Jodie Foster as well.
I saw that the two victims were engaged (no idea if it’s true since the truth is always elusive in these situations for awhile). If so that would point towards a jealous killer…
“I saw that the two victims were engaged”
They were, each to other people at that station, not to each other.
The camera man’s wife-to-be was in the control room when it happened, he was the first one shot.
The reporter was shot as she tried to run away.
The woman being interviewed was shot and survived.
COWARD shot himself and I think is still alive . JERK , STUPID ASS , PUNK . We’ll , here we go , nut with a gun , ALL GUNS ARE BAD . Sick of it . They reported he pointed the gun then dropped it to his side then re-aimed and shot . Perhaps if things had been different he could have been dropped before he got a shot off . Be aware of what is going on around you folks and please pray for the victims families , TRAGEDY .
Maybe ISIS. Public eye terror. Always a possibility.
If the attacker is an ISIS sympathizer, then he appears to be a convert of northern European descent. (The still-frame photo that is circulating strongly suggests that the attacker is caucasian.)
Very true. They are definitely out there..
Yes but I think this is a good example of the old hoofprints adage unless further information points towards a North American zebra.
When, they released photos of the Boston Bombers I said Chechen and this time I will say Chechen again…
Oh, you said Chechun, not achoo.
the attacker (shooter)was black not white.
This is my neck of the woods. At a marina and shopping area I like to relax in and watch the boats and people. It’s easy to say, ‘not here, not near me’ when you live in a fairly rural area. But this just goes to show me that ‘anywhere, anytime’ is possible. What a disgusting animal to do this.
Me too I’ve been to that very spot many times.
The media has encouraged spree killers, mass murderers, and other senseless crimes by giving these criminals far more publicity and attention than their crimes warranted. So when two of their members(and what I am going to say is harsh) die from someone the media encouraged, I say “good”.
Whose sins should you be killed for?
Mister Fleas, that’s pretty messed up. These were two young people and a bystander just doing a small market tourism/economic development study. They did nothing here to deserve being murdered. I get why you are mad, but reconsider the target.
That’s a disgusting sentiment.
And cue the bloody shirt waving and grave dancing from the left – I’m already reading some really freaking stupid “good going, NRA!” comments. Sickening crime, and sickening use of it to further political goals.
The bad guy did his homework. The reporter and cameraman were the primary targets; probably followed them from the news office, waited until they set up, then opened fire from concealemenr when the interview was being taped.
This isn’t DGU territory; if someone with basic intelligence wants you dead specifically they’ll likely succeed. Condition Yellow wont do much good if Bad Guy pickes you off with a long gun or a 12 gauge from the bushes. I’m not a fan of James Yeager, but he makes a good point with the following; you can’t do squat about the bullet with your name on it.Its the one with “To Whom It May Concern” we can do something about.
Politically this ain’t good. The media already hates firearms, and seeing a pretty 24 year old woman die screaming on tape makes for a very shocking argument for “Moar Gun Control”. Emotion nearly always outsells fact.
Va. Governor calling the shooter a “disgruntled employee” of the news station. Makes sense. Seemed like a targeted shooting.
I don’t understand the word disgruntled… Would that mean if nothing is bothering you that you are, in fact, gruntled?
Now that the police believe they know who the attacker is, it should be fairly easy to get a good quality photo and track him down right away. Let us hope so.
My prayers for the family, loved ones, and friends of the victims.
Could be fallout from the AshleyMadison leak to a disgruntled ex- to your guess is as good as mine.
they are chasing suspect and have licenses plate #. prepare for suicide by cop
…i’m a little sick after watching that. I do want to hear what was going on to lead to that moment.
My condolences to the families.
Even with the horrific crime on tape, some still won’t support the death penalty. Well, I will. Let this murderous dirtbag face the same fate he unleashed on his victims. Let it be known to future spree shooter wannabes know that steady trigger fingers are waiting for them if they survive their murderous rampages.
And if police don’t manage to take this suspect alive, I won’t shed a single tear for the killer.
Of course, we don’t know all the circumstances right now, but in general, I agree with you that the murderer should be killed. And yet, at the same time, I still don’t support the death penalty.
As a person who has killed people, and a person who has witnessed a state administered execution, I can tell you they are very different things, with very different outcomes.
I hope the murderer is found by law enforcement or by any well trained and well armed citizen. I hope they feel reasonably threatened by that murderer, and I hope their aim is swift and true and that no harm comes to them for it.
Considering the proven willingness to the murderer to commit unprovoked acts of extreme violence, I would have to give that individual(s) a great deal of latitude and benefit of the doubt in their justifiable use of deadly force.
AP is now reporting it is a fellow employee from the station.
It’s those damned guns again, gotta get rid of them. (say the liberals)
My God, what an animal. Cold blooded killer.
He videoed himself doing the shooting!!!
This is very chilling folks
Truly sick. Allow me to reiterate my points on the death penalty. It’s not feasible for a cameraman to have situation awareness. However, the other two ladies could have had a chance if they were armed and paying attention. Looks like the weapon used was a Glock 19 or Glock 23.
As a side note, I don’t follow the TTAG “handguns suck at killing” meme – makes for crappy situational awareness.
Ack, couldn’t edit my comment. I meant to say the murder weapon looks like a Glock 19 or G23.
Looking at the video, situational awareness may have helped, but not certain it would have ended any better because those people would not have known how to react. If they were doing a live interview like it looked like in the video, they are all trained to keep focus.
This was a straight out ambush.
Your point about situational awareness is valid. If someone is planning on not paying attention because they think they can take a shot and then return fire, yeah, that’s just crazy and ridiculous.
However, the video from the shooter does show how ineffectual pistol rounds are at rapidly disabling someone. Note the small, young female reporter took several shots to the chest at very close range, and still managed to run away. Yes, she tragically died later. But it is a lesson to us all that if you are shot, you aren’t out of the fight and you have to maintain that mindset. And on the obverse, if you shoot an attacker, don’t assume that multiple rounds at close range to the chest will stop them immediately and quickly end the threat.
Fair point, although I’ve never said handguns are better weapons than long guns. Dead is dead, whether in an instant or in a few minutes. However, civilian and civilian LEOs like me aren’t stuck with crappy 124 grain 9mm +P FMJ Nato ammo (or M855 5.56), so handguns are better weapons than most military brass give them credit for. When I was in the Corps in 94-01, handguns were seen as a joke. I can’t imagine your experience was terribly different in that regard.
Since the females didn’t die immediately (tough to tell when the LiveLeak vid cut out so fast), they could have potentially returned fire. That’s a mindset that changes with every day carry, as most of us here are well aware of. In any case, a tragic incident and an all-out ambush in every regard. I don’t blame the victims, but certainly wish they could have returned fire and not lost their live. As it is, this incident will likely be used to push for more gun control against those of us who legitimately carry and accept personal responsibility for our own protection.
I’ve been on-camera as a police officer, so I’ll use this as a cautionary tale to maintain SA even during an interview. And I would have mentioned this as a training item during briefing at work as a police supervisor. When TTAG has interesting articles (that aren’t virulently anti-cop) I share them with employees at work as tactical cautionary tales, complete with a “what could so and so have done better” de-brief. Sometimes a better solution exists, and sometimes you’re just buggered.
I just had an in-depth conversation with my son about the incident. He’s moving into UW-La Crosse this weekend and just took his physical for Army ROTC. Hopefully he will join the ranks of every day gun carriers when he turns 21. So we discussed this incident. Unfortunately the LiveLeak video seems off-line, but it showed (shows?) the shooter with what looked like a Glock 23 or 19 out in his hand for about 10 seconds, only a few yards from his victims. Granted reporters and interviewers are trained and told to ignore distractions, but this “distraction” was a killer about to launch an attack. And then he did.
Couldn’t agree with you more on all of that.
I wonder if, as a reporter himself, the murderer knew and took into account that that his target would ignore him while they were on camera? It might have been the time they were the least aware, and I wonder if he counted on that.
Considering that, and as an officer yourself, paying attention while on camera is an excellent point, and one I would not have thought about.
The (edited) version of the self made video is about the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen.
Also, there are reports that he shot himself on I66.
Good link about the shooting and facts about him as well. Including that he has sued other stations and other people and accused them all of being racist. He was escorted from the TV station by police several times before this happened:
Coward tried to off himself.
If you take the guns,you put yourselves at the mercy of the bad guy..they’ll be the only ones with guns.dont think for a minute that they wont take advantage.a whole country to rape and pillage..within a year ,the police will be so backed up,it will take them.three years to investigate your kins killings.