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Posted: August 26, 2015

What we know about the slain WDBJ journalists

Photo credit: Twitter account @WDBJ7


By Cox Media Group National Content Desk


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A reporter and a photographer were shot and killed Wednesday while conducting a live interview for WDBJ. A former WDBJ employee, Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, who went by the on-air name of Bryce Williams, is the alleged shooter. He shot himself after a police chase, and later died while in custody. Here is what we know about the victims.

Who were the victims? A gunman shot and killed reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward while they were conducting a live interview that was being broadcast on WDBJ, a Virginia news station. The subject of the interview, Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was also shot. She had emergency surgery and is recovering.

>>Read more about the shootings

Young, but promising future  ahead: Parker was 24, and Ward was 27. Parker graduated from James Madison University, and was an intern at WDBJ before being hired as the station’s “Mornin’” reporter, according to her WDBJ profile page. 

Ward, 27, was a Virginia Tech graduate, according to WDBJ. Ward had worked for the station since 2011. He was reportedly planning to follow his fiancée, WDBJ producer Melissa Ott, to North Carolina, where she was moving for a new job opportunity.

Parker and Ward worked together often, according to Parker’s boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst.

WDBJ anchor Kimberly McBroom told NBC that Parker and Hurst were “fine journalists” who “always made their colleagues smile.”

WDBJ posted "A look at the lives of WDBJ7's Alison Parker and Adam Ward," which showed highlights from their brief but bright journalism careers.

Both were in relationships with WDBJ staffers:

Parker had been dating WDBJ evening anchor Chris Hurst for nine months. Hurst wrote a loving tribute to Parker on his Twitter account.

>>Read Hurst’s tribute to Parker

He also posted several photos of himself and Parker on his Facebook page.

We didn't share this publicly, but Alison Parker and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb. We...

Posted by Chris Hurst Wdbj on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Ward was engaged to WDBJ producer Melissa Ott. Ward posted a photo of the couple’s engagement on his Facebook page.

CNN reported that Ott was in the WDBJ news control room at the time of the shootings.

Alison Parker's family releases statement

The family of Parker released a public statement addressing the death of their daughter on Wednesday afternoon. The family expressed how senseless the crime was and said they were "crushed" by the loss of their daughter.


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