Watch CBS News

Community mourns, prays after Va. live TV shooting

The CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, held a moment of silence Thursday morning for Alison Parker and Adam Ward
Roanoke station WDBJ remembers reporter, photographer 03:36

CBS Roanoke affiliate WDBJ-TV held a moment of silence Thursday morning for two young journalists, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, CBS News' Jeff Pegues reports.

Parker and Ward were killed by a lone gunman while live on television Wednesday morning. The property outside the TV studio has since turned into a tribute to the slain reporter and cameraman.

Family and friends remember WDBJ news crew killed on live TV 03:07

In Moneta, Virginia, dozens gathered at a vigil Wednesday night for local Chamber of Commerce executive Vicki Gardner, the woman being interviewed, who was badly wounded but survived the attack.

President Obama called the attack heartbreaking and noted in a statement that the number of deaths from gun-related incidents in the U.S. "dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism."

The shooter's family released a statement that said in part:

"It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we express our deepest condolenses (sic) to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. We are also praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the victims' families and the WBDJ7 News family."

Investigators have since searched the home of the shooter, identified as 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II, and it seems he may have been planning the attack for months.

Parker and Ward did not see the killer walking toward them, but he was recording all of it to be posted later on social media.

Vicki Gardner

The gunman came up from behind, lifted the pistol and waited for Ward's camera to turn back onto Parker. He fired as many as 14 shots.

Parker and Ward died at the scene.

The manhunt for the killer quickly focused on Flanagan, who went by the name Bryce Williams on television.

He'd worked at the same station, and in May of 2014 he sued WDBJ for discrimination. Court records say the case was dismissed, but he still apparently held a grudge. After the shooting, Flanagan tweeted under his on-air name about the reporter, claiming "Alison made racist comments" and saying of the cameraman "Adam went to HR on me after working with me one time!"

Police caught up to Flanagan about 200 miles from where the shooting occurred. Investigators say he shot himself and he later died in the hospital.

Jeff Marks, the general manager of WDBJ-TV, said Flanagan was a troubled employee from the start and knew after a few months into his employment he wasn't fitting in.

NYPD's Miller on why WDBJ shooter was a "classic injustice collector" 03:29

"I think we knew he was a live wire, but do you ever really see somebody taking up arms and getting and throwing their own life away in order to prove some sort of point with violent overkill?" Marks said.

Shortly after the shooting, someone identifying himself as Flanagan faxed a 23-page "suicide note" to ABC News.

He allegedly praised the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and at Columbine and called Wednesday's shootings retaliation for the church massacre in June in Charleston, South Carolina. He added, "I've been a human powder keg for a while ... just waiting to go boom."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.