WDBJ Shooting Suspect Shot Himself, Died in Hospital

By  | 

ROANOKE, Va. (WHSV) -- Vester Lee Flanagan, the suspect in the WDBJ shooting, has shot himself and later died in the hospital.

The two WDBJ employees were shot and killed on Wednesday morning.

He died at about 1:30 p.m. while at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

It happened near mile marker 15 on Interstate 66.

At about 3:30 p.m., Virginia State Trooper Pamela Neff, the officer who pulled over Flanagan, spoke to the media.

She said that when she attempted to pull Flanagan over, he did not stop, so she and other troopers followed him for about a mile and a half.

He ended up crashing on the left-hand side of the road in the median. She and sever other troopers got out of the car and noticed Flanagan was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

She did not walk all the way up to the vehicle.

While speaking, she declined to go into any detail about what was in the vehicle.

Two WDBJ employees died and another was hospitalized after a shooting this morning at Bridgewater Plaza. The shooting happened during an on-air broadcast at about 6:45 a.m.

A tweet sent out by WDBJ chief meteorologist Brent Watts says that both reporter Alison Parker, who was a graduate of James Madison University, and photographer Adam Ward were killed in the shooting.

While in college, Parker was an intern here at WHSV.

JMU released this statement about the Wednesday morning shooting:

"Alison Parker, one of two WDBJ journalists killed today, was a 2012 graduate of James Madison University. Alison earned a bachelor's degree in media arts and design, and she was a reporter and editor for the student newspaper, The Breeze. She had a passion for journalism and had a bright future. James Madison University is shocked and saddened by the news and circumstances of her death. Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues."

The Franklin County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shooting that happened at Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake.

At 7:31 a.m., WDBJ sent out this tweet:


Augusta County schools were on a "modified lockdown," but that has since been lifted.

Governor Terry McAuliffe released this statement:

“Dorothy and I and our entire administration remain heartbroken over this morning’s senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, the WDBJ staff and the entire community that is mourning this awful loss. We stand ready to offer whatever resources or assistance we can in the wake of this horrific incident. We also continue to pray for the safe recovery of Vicki Gardner, who was wounded in this terrible incident.

“On behalf of all Virginians, I want to thank the public safety personnel from across Virginia who responded with great professionalism and bravery to this threat.

“As we reflect with heavy hearts on this tragedy, it is appropriate to begin to ask questions about how we can prevent these senseless events in the future. Keeping guns out of the hands of people who would use them to harm our family, friends and loved ones is not a political issue; it is a matter of ensuring that more people can come home safely at the end of the day. We cannot rest until we have done whatever it takes to rid our society of preventable gun violence that results in tragedies like the one we are enduring today.”

U.S. Senator Mark Warner also released a statement:

“We appreciate the work of local, state and federal law enforcement in identifying and locating the suspect in today’s shootings, and taking him into custody. This crime was senseless, and our thoughts are with the loved ones and friends of Alison, Adam, and the whole WDBJ staff. We’re also praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner.”

Congressman Bob Goodlatte released the following statement:

“The horrific murders that occurred this morning have impacted the entire Roanoke community. Maryellen and I offer our condolences to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward during this very difficult time. I had the great opportunity to work with Alison and Adam, and they will be dearly missed by those in our community as well as their loved ones and colleagues at WDBJ. I continue to keep the WDBJ family as well as Vicki Gardner, who was wounded this morning, in my thoughts and prayers. As we continue to learn more about this terrible tragedy, I am thankful for the coordinated efforts of multiple federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in responding quickly.”