Two television journalists of US based WDBJ7 were shot dead on Wednesday morning (local time) in Virginia. The two were in the middle of a live broadcast when the gunman, identified as one disgruntled ex-employee of the TV station opened fire at them before shooting himself too after fleeing the spot. But the most shocking bit about the entire incident happens to be the uploading of a video where the gunmen is seen firing at the victims.
The two deceased media persons have been identified 24-years old Alison Parker, a reporter for the WDBJ7 television news channel and 27-years old Adam Ward, a video journalist with the same TV station. Both were conducting an on-air interview with a woman about a shopping plaza in Moneta when they were shot at close range by the gunman identified as Vester Lee Flanagan II, a 41-years old former employee of WDBJ7 television.
The gunman is believed to have fired six or seven times, WDBJ7 General Manager Jeff Marks said.
After the shooting, Lee Flanagan fled from the scene in his car where he is believed to have shot himself too. Police found his car was off the highway after which Lee Flanagan was rushed to the local Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he reportedly succumbed to the injuries.
Lending initial details of the case, police claimed that the “troopers approached the vehicle and found the male driver suffering from a gunshot wound”.
According to the probe so far, Lee Flanagan had previously worked for WDBJ7 under the name Bryce Williams. He was hired by the TV station in October 2012, where he worked till February 2013. Lee Flanagan is told to have worked at several TV stations in San Francisco, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia, the local press reported.
Though the motive to killing the two mediapersons is yet to be known, but it is been widely speculated that Lee Flanagan was “disgruntled” with the TV station. In May 2014, he had also filed a suit against the station in Roanoke General District Court, seeking his money and additional damages. His suit also talked of working modalities and alleged discrimination by the station and named most of the WDBJ7 staff in his complaint. The case was, however, dismissed in July 2014.
Soon after the incident, the video of shooting was posted on the unverified Twitter account and Facebook page of Bryce Williams.
Reportedly, few statements were also posted on his Twitter account before the video was uploaded, including one that said: “Alison made racist comments” and another claiming Ward had reported Flanagan to human resources.
(With inputs from the PTI/agencies)