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Two journalists shot dead during live interview

Two journalists shot dead during live interview

WASHINGTON: Two television journalists were shot and killed in Virginia on Wednesday morning while conducting a live interview.

Police said the suspect, Vester Flanagan, 41, was a disgruntled former employee of the TV station WDBJ, who later shot himself.

Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, of Virginia-based TV station, died on the spot. Vicki Gardner, the woman they were interviewing, was injured and hospitalised.

Police later confronted Mr Flanagan on a highway that links Virginia to Washington, DC, and Mr Flanagan shot himself. Police confirmed the shooting but did not say whether he was killed or injured.

Flanagan, who is an African-American, worked at the TV station for one year as a reporter under the name Bryce Williams.

He claimed in a tweet that the reporter had made racist remarks about him.

A video posted on the social media showed a handgun as the suspect approached the woman reporter.

The shooting occurred at about 6:45am during an interview about tourist attractions in the small Virginia town near Washington.

In the broadcast, shots were heard and the reporter and the person being interviewed screamed and ducked for cover.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said in an interview on Washington radio station WTOP that the suspected shooter had been identified as a disgruntled current or former station employee.

Asked on CNN if the station had been targeted or had been threatened, WDBJ7 President and General Manager Jeff Marks said, “Every now and then you get a crazy email or something and we’ll look into it. Nothing of this nature than any of us could recall.”

He said the interview was to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of Smith Mountain Lake, and the woman being interviewed was from the local chamber of commerce. She had been talking about the anniversary and tourism.

The station’s broadcast showed Ms Parker interviewing Ms Gardner when gunshots erupted. As Mr Ward fell his camera hit the ground but kept running. An image caught on camera showed what appeared to be a man in dark clothing facing the camera with a weapon in his right hand.

Both journalists were engaged to other people and were to be married soon.

Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015

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