The investigation of a television reporter and photographer both shot and killed this morning on live television continues to unfold.
Alison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were finishing up their last live shot of the morning when a former coworker, Vester Lee Flanigan, also known by his television name of Bryce Williams, opened fire and shot Parker, Ward and the woman Parker was interviewing. Flanigan taped the shooting on his cellphone and later posted it online.
“It’s reprehensible,” Joel Stein, of Massachusetts, told Western Mass News today. “It’s just an act of violence, terror and anger.”
WDBJ anchors reacting to the shooting on air while hearing employees in their newsroom crying, watching the scene unfold.
“We are all in a state of shock,” the anchors said on-air.
The shooter was a former WDBJ reporter. The station’s general manager said, “Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him.”
A local workforce violence expert told Western Mass News there are often warning signs of employees who act out in violent ways.
“People are left questioning, ‘Why do things like this happen?’” Sarah Stein, assistant professor at Western New England University, said.
Stein is reminding all employees of any workplace to always be on alert.
"We know that generally these types of offenders are very disorganized,” Stein said. “They are usually very verbal about their unhappiness and their being disgruntled at the workplace and that can quickly escalate to physical violence.”
Alison Parker’s boyfriend was a reporter at the station. He tweeted that he’s “numb,” and that the two were “very much in love.”
Ward’s fiance was a producer at WDBJ. Today was her last day. She told coworkers they have plans to move down south together and that Ward had thought about leaving the business.
“It’s unfortunate for the families of the victims in these kinds of situations, but you know, it seems to be a growing epidemic,” Eric Nunes, of West Springfield, said.
“People are just trying to do their job and bad things happen to them,” Julie Marcus, of Westfield, said. “I don’t understand.”
Copyright 2015 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.