MONETA, Va. – A Virginia official says the suspect in the fatal shooting of two TV station employees during a live broadcast has died.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran said Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 p.m. Wednesday.

Flanagan went by the name Bryce Williams on the air. He was a former employee at the station. The general manager said that he was known for being unhappy, angry and hard to work with, and that he was fired.

Flanagan was the suspect in the killing of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live interview outside a shopping mall Wednesday morning. The woman they were interviewing was wounded.

The shooter recorded himself carrying out the killings and posted the video on social media as he fled the scene.

He later crashed a vehicle, and pursuing troopers found Flanagan suffering from a gunshot wound.

Parker had been interviewing an economic development official about local tourism as the shots rang out. She screamed, ran and could be heard saying “Oh my God,” as she fell. Ward’s camera captured a fleeting image, including the face, of a man holding a handgun.

The woman who was being interviewed by the crew at the time and who was also shot and wounded was in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital said on its Facebook page that Vicki Gardner, who also was on the hospital’s board of directors, was recovering after the surgery. It did not elaborate on the nature of her wounds.

The hospital statement also says that hospital staff had gotten to know Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, through many live reports from the hospital’s facilities. It says the two were more than just journalists — “they were good friends who will be missed.”

WDBJ quickly switched back to a shot of the anchor back at the station, her eyes large and jaw dropping as she said, “OK, not sure what happened there. We will of course let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were from.”

Video of the shooting was later posted on the Twitter account and Facebook page of Flanagan. It showed an outstretched arm holding the handgun and firing repeatedly at Parker as she tried to run away.

The shooter appeared to walk up to the victims and stand a few feet away from them while holding the weapon. The three, in the midst of a live TV interview, do not seem to notice the gunman, who doesn’t start shooting until Ward points the camera at Parker and Gardner.

Roughly 15 shots can be heard, including several that were fired after the video goes dark.

ABC News reported on its website that the network received a 23-page fax from someone claiming to be Flanagan. The network said the fax was turned over to authorities, and did not elaborate on its contents.

Federal law enforcement was assisting, and federal officials said there was no indication of a connection to terrorism.

The shooting happened around 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County, as Parker interviewed Gardner about the upcoming 50th anniversary festivities for Smith Mountain Lake, a local tourism destination.

Both of those killed victims were romantically involved with other employees at the station, according to Parker’s boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst. He wrote online that they hadn’t shared their relationship publicly but “were very much in love.” He said they had just moved in together and wanted to get married. “I am numb,” he said.

Parker had joined the station as an intern after attending James Madison University, where she was the editor of the school’s newspaper, The Breeze. According to her Facebook page, Parker spent most of her life outside Martinsville, Virginia. She was an avid kayaker and attended community theater events in her spare time.

Ward graduated from Virginia Tech University and was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott, said WDBJ spokesman Mike Morgan.

“Adam was our go-to guy. He pretty much was available to do anything that we asked,” Morgan said. “He did live shots during our morning show for several years.”

The station is based in Roanoke, Virginia, and serves the southwest and central part of the state. The shopping mall where the incident happened is just off Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, about 25 miles southeast of Roanoke.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.