Washington: A woman TV news reporter and a cameraman conducting a live on-air interview were killed on the spot when a “disgruntled station employee” opened fire at a mall in US state of Virginia and fled, shocking viewers who saw the grissly drama on their TVs.
Alison Parker, 24, a reporter for WDBJ television news channel, and Adam Ward, 27, a cameraman, were interviewing a woman about a shopping plaza in Moneta, a small community near Roanoke city – some 400 kilometers south west of Washington DC — when they were shot by an unidentified gunman, media reports said.
The gunman is believed to have fired six or seven times, WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks said.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said that law enforcement personnel have a photo of the suspect and that he was known to the victims.
The gunman was believed to be a disgruntled employee of the TV station and was being chased by police on an interstate highway, McAuliffe said, adding his arrest is now “imminent”.
According to New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, since 1992 five journalists have been killed in the US.
This year so far at least 39 journalists have been killed worldwide with France, South Sudan and Syria, being the most deadly countries.
According to local Roanoke Times, police has confirmed they are seeking a man named Vester Lee Flanagan in relation to the shooting.
Flanagan previously worked for WDBJ under the name Bryce Williams.
He was hired at the station in the spring of 2012 after working at stations in San Francisco and in Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia.
WDBJ let him go in February 2013, the daily reported.
Part of the incident was caught on video during WDBJ TV’s morning broadcast.
The station was interviewing Vicki Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Gardner was shot at his back and is currently battling for his life in a hospital.