News crew murdered on live TV; suspect dressed in all black

by Gregory Tomlin, |
WDBJ reporter Alison Parker begins an interview with Vicki Gardner of the Smith County Lake Chamber of Commerce, just before eight shots rang out. Parker and her cameraman, Adam Ward, were killed. Gardner was not killed, but is in surgery. | WDBJ TV/CBS Television

ROANOKE, Va. (Christian Examiner) – A reporter and cameraman from WDBJ TV in Roanoke, Va., were shot and killed today during a live broadcast, the television station's general manager confirmed in an on-air statement.

Reporter Alison Parker, who had just turned 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were doing an interview in Moneta, Va., at Bridgewater Plaza at Smith Mountain Lake, a pier, shopping and entertainment center.

While the camera was focused on Parker and her guest, shots could be heard and the camera was dropped to the ground. In a frame of the video, the suspect – seen only for one second – appeared to be dressed in all black (or another dark colored clothing). He also appeared to have a beard, but the graininess in the video makes that difficult to determine.

Police have cordoned off the area surrounding Bridgewater Plaza and schools in the area in lockdown.

According to the television station, the interview subject survived the attack. The news crew did not.

"It is my very sad duty to report, we have determined with the help of police and our own employees, Alison and Adam died this morning at 6:45 shortly after the shots rang out," Jeffrey Marks, the station's general manager, said. "We do not know the motive or who the suspect or the killer is."

"I cannot tell you how much they were loved by the WDBJ7 team.... our hearts are broken," he said.

Parker was just beginning her conversation on tourism with Vicki Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, when the shots rang out.

Local media are reporting that Viriginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said the shooter has been identified and apparently is a disgrunted former employee from the station, according to other local media.