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Tragedy strikes live broadcast: Journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward shot dead on air



Gunman’s deadly rampage shatters lives during CBS Roanoke affiliation live broadcast

In a chilling turn of events that shook the nation, the lives of young journalist Alison Parker, 24, and camera operator Adam Ward, 27, were tragically cut short during a live television broadcast near Moneta, Virginia, on August 26, 2015.

The harrowing incident unfolded as the duo, affiliated with CBS Roanoke’s WDBJ7, were on assignment conducting interviews. A gunman, identified as Vester Flanagan, using the on-air alias Bryce Williams, approached them, mercilessly ending their lives before a horrified audience.

Flanagan, a former employee of WDBJ, had been dismissed from the station prior to the heinous act, leading WDBJ’s president and general manager, Jeffrey Marks, to reflect on the troubled history with the assailant. Marks noted, “He left here in a cloud… We asked him to leave, and that itself was difficult.”

The victims, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, were engaged in interviewing Vicki Gardner, Executive Director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, just moments before the shots rang out. Tragically, Alison and Adam lost their lives, and Vicki sustained injuries in the attack.

In the aftermath, a disturbing video surfaced on an account under the name Bryce Williams, providing a chilling first-person perspective of the shooter. The assailant accused Alison of being ‘racist’ and aired grievances about a past incident reported to Human Resources.

Alison’s father, Andy, expressed profound grief, saying, “Alison was our bright, shining light, and it was cruelly extinguished by yet another crazy person with a gun.” He highlighted Alison’s vibrant spirit, emphasizing that her family found solace in the knowledge that she lived her brief life to the fullest.

Adam Ward, engaged to producer Melissa Ott, witnessed his wedding dress arrive on the same fateful day he lost his life. The pair, integral to the morning show team, had plans for a bright future together.

Paying tribute to the fallen journalists, anchor Kim McBroom said, “They were special people. They’d brighten up a room every morning.” The station held a somber moment of silence to honor their colleagues, and the entire nation mourned the loss of these promising lives.

The shooting drew condemnation from then-President Barack Obama, who lamented, “It breaks my heart every time you read or hear about these kinds of incidents,” emphasizing the alarming toll of gun-related deaths across the nation.


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