News reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were gunned down on Aug. 26, 2015 at a park in Moneta, VA while interviewing the head of the local chamber of commerce for a morning news program on local CBS affiliate WDBJ in Roanoke, VA. Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, both died at the scene. The shooter was later confirmed to be Vester Lee Flanagan II, a former WDBJ reporter who worked under the name Bryce Williams and was fired from the station in 2013 for disruptive conduct. Reports indicated that Flanagan appeared to wait until Ward’s camera was pointed at Parker before opening fire to ensure that the incident was broadcast live on-air.
In the hours following the attack, Flanagan posted video recordings of the shootings on social media and led police on a vehicular chase, at the close of which he shot himself. He later died at a hospital. Shortly after shooting Parker and Ward, Flanagan, who had reportedly been terminated from posts at other stations for odd behaviour, sent a 23-page fax to ABC news describing alleged instances of racial discrimination and sexual harassment he experienced that he said he believed targeted him as a homosexual black man. In posts on social media, he specifically named Parker and Ward, who were white, in connection with his claims of racial discrimination at WDBJ. Flanagan also claimed to have been provoked by the racially motivated shooting of nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, S.C. by a white gunman in June 2015.