Roanoke community remembers WDBJ shooting victims
Posted August 26, 2015
Updated August 27, 2015
Roanoke, Va. — Members of the Roanoke, Va. Community gathered for a vigil Wednesday night near the place where a WDBJ reporter and cameraman were shot.
The mood was heavy for journalists and community members who came together Wednesday night to remember reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27.
A local church decided to hold the prayer vigil. A few dozen people gathered in the parking lot to sing, embrace, and lift up prayers for the victims and families involved.
Resident Kim Caldwell said that she didn’t know any of the victims personally, but their death still hit home.
With the news people, I mean they’re part of the family,” Caldwell said. “When you bring them into your house every morning when you cut the TV on, they’re there. They get to be like part of your family.”
The Revitalize Church was not far from the scene of the shooting and a leader of the church said that a member was in the parking lot and heard the gunshots.
Before Parker joined the WDBJ news team, she worked for WCTI in New Bern from 2012 to May 2014. News director for the station, Scott Nichols said the loss has impacted his newsroom.
“People who knew her loved her,” Nichols said. “This is very devastating to our entire newsroom.”
Nationally, many celebrities and politicians voiced their reactions to the shootings on social media while the Washington Nationals held a moment of silence for Parker and Ward at tonight’s game against San Diego.
Parker and Ward were shot by former WDBJ employee Vester Flannigan, who used the name Bryce Williams on-air. In tweets posted after the shooting, Flannigan accused Parker of making racist remarks and blamed Ward for reporting him to human resources.
A manhunt for Flannigan took investigators across several counties and interstates in Virginia before an alert State Trooper spotted Flannigan’s vehicle on Interstate 66.
Within minutes of that sighting, Flannigan shot himself and crashed on the side of the road as State Troopers moved in.
“You don’t have time to think about personal emotions,” said Virginia State Trooper, Pam Neff. “The only thing you have time to think about is what’s going to happen next and what’s my next move if this were to happen.