MONETA, Va. -- The suspect accused of killing two WDBJ7
employees died at a hospital in Northern Virginia, according to
Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton.
Vester Flanagan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a
Fairfax hospital around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. He is a former
Officials believe he shot and killed WDBJ7's Adam Ward and
Alison Parker during a live broadcast Wednesday.
Flanagan's personal car was found at the Roanoke-Blacksburg
Regional Airport. Flanagan rented a separate car.
Around 11:30 a.m., law enforcement tried to stop Flanagan on
Interstate 66 in Fauquier County but he refused to stop. Shortly
after, he shot himself.
Flanagan sent a lengthy fax about the attack to a New York media
Deputies believe Flanagan opened fire on WDBJ7 photographer Adam
Ward and WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker around 6:45 a.m. during a
live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza, which is on Smith Mountain
Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of
Commerce was also injured in the shooting. She had surgery and
Adam was 27-years-old. Alison just turned 24.
Both Adam and Alison were from the WDBJ7 viewing area.
Adam graduated from Salem High School and Virginia Tech.
Alison grew up in Martinsville and attended Patrick Henry
Community College and James Madison University.
Flanagan worked at WDBJ7 for less than a year. He started at
WDBJ7 on March 29, 2012. His employment was terminated on
February 1, 2013.
His family released the following statement:
“It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we express our
deepest condolences to the families of Alison Parker and Adam
Ward. We are also praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner. Our
thoughts and prayers at this time are with the victims' families
and the WBDJ7 NEWS family. Words cannot express the hurt that we
feel for the victims. Our family is asking that the media
respect our privacy.”
Here is the news release from the Franklin County Sheriff's
At 6:43 a.m., Wednesday (Aug. 26, 2015), the Franklin County
Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call concerning shots fired at
the Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake. A WDBJ-TV news
crew was conducting a live interview at the Plaza with Ms.
Gardner when Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, of Roanoke, Va.,
suddenly approached them and started shooting.
Two WDBJ-TV employees, Alison Parker, 24, of Roanoke, Va., and
Adam Ward, 27, of Roanoke, Va. died at the scene. The woman they
were interviewing, Vicki Gardner, 62, of Goodview, Va., was
transported to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where she is
being treated for non-life threatening injuries.
Flanagan then fled before deputies arrived on scene. The
Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the
Virginia State Police, immediately began a search operation to
locate the suspect. Information gathered at the crime scene and
in interviews shortly afterward lead investigators to identify
Flanagan as a suspect.
Shortly before 11 a.m., Roanoke City Police located Flanagan’s
2009 Ford Mustang at the Roanoke Regional Airport. The Mustang
has been recovered as evidence.
The investigation determined that Flanagan left the airport days
earlier in a Chevrolet Sonic that he had rented earlier in the
During the course of the investigation, law enforcement was able
to locate the suspect as he traveled along Interstate 81.
It was shortly before 11:30 a.m., when Virginia State Police
Trooper Pamela M. Neff was on patrol along Interstate 66 and her
vehicle’s License Plate Reader (LPR) alerted to the license
plate of a silver Chevrolet Sonic traveling east on I-66. She
followed behind for a short distance as additional troopers
responded to assist and then activated her emergency lights to
initiate a traffic stop.
The driver of the Sonic, Flanagan, refused to stop and sped away
from the trooper. It was only a minute or two later that the
Sonic ran off I-66 and into the median. When Trooper Neff
approached the vehicle, she found Flanagan suffering from a self-
inflicted gunshot wound. Flanagan was flown from the scene to
Inova Fairfax Hospital, where he died at approximately 1:26 p.m.
Wednesday (Aug. 26, 2015).