Dead journalists were loved

2015-08-26 20:26
Alison Parker (AP)

Alison Parker (AP)

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WATCH: Moment two US journalists shot dead caught on live TV

2015-08-26 15:27

This video shows the dramatic scenes leading up to the incident. Warning: The following video is disturbing, but it is not graphic. WATCH

Roanoke - Alison Parker and Adam Ward were an ambitious reporter and cameraman team at a Virginia television station who often filmed light and breezy feature stories for the morning news show.

On Wednesday at about 06:45 ET (10:45 GMT), it was business as usual for the two journalists with Roanoke, Virginia-based CBS affiliate WDBJ7, who were conducting a live interview about a local lake until gunfire rang out.

Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, were shot and killed on-air, their final screams broadcast live from Bridgewater Plaza, a recreation site with restaurants and shopping. The shooting suspect was a former or current employee of the station, authorities said.

"I cannot tell you how much they were loved," WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks said about Parker and Ward during a sombre broadcast. Station employees could be heard crying in the background.

"These two were more than what you saw here on TV, they were much, much more," anchor woman Kimberly McBroom said.

Parker and Ward were Virginia natives. Parker graduated from Martinsville High School and attended James Madison University, where she excelled academically. She started at WDBJ as an intern about four years ago, left for a spell, then returned.

She was known by co-workers as bubbly, smart and excelling quickly at her job, working her way up to full-time reporter and substitute anchor by her early 20s. When fellow employees suffered personal hardships, she would console them, bring food or flowers to their door, they said.

Ward went to Salem High School and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. He was a devoted fan of Virginia Tech sports teams and always had a smile on his face, co-workers said.

Both were engaged to be married to people who worked at the news station.


Parker was engaged to WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst.

"She was the most radiant woman I ever met," Hurst wrote on Twitter after the death of his fiance, whom he had dated for nine months and was living with. "I am numb."

Hurst said Parker and Ward worked together ever day and "were a team."

Ward was engaged to morning WDBJ producer, Melissa Ott, who was leaving the station for a job in Charlotte, North Carolina, Marks said. Ward was moving with her.

There was cake and balloons in the newsroom on Wednesday morning celebrating the move and the couple's engagement, said anchor Kimberly McBroom.

Ward recently told co-workers he intended to leave the news business when he left for Charlotte.

Ward's personal Facebook page is decorated with images of him and Ott, including his marriage proposal to her.

Parker's page is filled with images of pets, outdoor activities and other outings where she poses with her new fiancée.

"There were a lot of good things happening for Adam," McBroom said, choking back tears. "And Alison, wow, she was just a rock star."

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