*** SIGH ***

Unreal. Absolutely unreal. I sat down with my coffee in hand, ready to write about the meaning of Women’s Equality Day. I had a post planned about Hurricane Katrina, and how the city of New Orleans still feels the effects of that massive natural disaster a decade later – but this happened. From Al-Jazeera:

The man suspected of shooting and killing two local Virginia journalists as they conducted a live television interview has shot himself and is in critical condition, according to local news reports.

WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward were killed Wednesday morning by gunman at the Bridgewater Plaza mall in Moneta, Virginia, which is about 150 miles west of the state capital Richmond.

The suspected shooter was identified by authorities as Vester Flanagan. WDBJ7 said Flanagan is a former employee who is also known as Bryce Williams.

The station reported that state police confirmed that Flanigan shot himself on Interstate 66 in Fauquier County. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe earlier said that authorities were pursuing Flanigan along a major highway. 

A Twitter and Facebook account under the name Bryce Williams appeared to show first-person video of the shooting. Both accounts have since been suspended. 

At about 6:45 a.m., Parker and the person she was interviewing heard shots, sending them screaming and ducking for cover, according to live video of the event. The camera appears to drop to the ground and captures what seems to be a fleeting image of the gunman. The person is wearing black pants and a blue top and appears to be holding a handgun. The station then cut away from the live video of the scene and back into its studio.

The Roanoke Times reported that the person interviewed in the video was Vicki Gardner, the head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce. The paper’s website reported that Gardner was shot in the back and was undergoing surgery. WDBJ7 later confirmed that Gardner was injured in the shooting.

From the Huffington Post:

A man believed to have shot and killed two journalists during a live broadcast on Wednesday morning is in critical condition at a Virginia hospital. Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, allegedly opened fire at reporters from Roanoke-based news station WDBJ and an interviewee around 6:45 a.m. during a broadcast from Smith Mountain Lake in the community of Moneta. Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, died shortly after the shooting.

At around 11:30 a.m. Flanagan’s vehicle went off the road and crashed while he was fleeing law enforcement on the highway, Virginia State Police told The Huffington Post. Troopers found Flanagan in the vehicle with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. Flanagan previously worked as a reporter for WDBJ and went by the name Bryce Williams on air. Around 11:15 a.m. Wednesday, a Twitter account linked to that name tweeted out two videos of the shooting, shot from the perspective of the gunman. One video cuts off just as he aims the gun at Parker. A second video shows him opening fire. Other tweets sent around the same time stated “Parker made racist comments” and asked “They hired her after that???” The account has since been suspended. Someone claiming to be Williams sent a 23-page fax to ABC News on Tuesday night, the network reported. ABC turned it over to law enforcement.
Vicki Gardner, the woman Parker was interviewing, was shot in the back and is undergoing surgery, CNN reports. Gardner is the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.”
I don’t know what to say…I really don’t. NRA asshats are already flooding the comment sections of news outlets with their usual, outdated, histrionic tripe and vitriol. Sick, sick, sick…

%d bloggers like this: