tv Andrea Mitchell Reports MSNBC August 26, 2015 9:00am-10:01am PDT
shot and killed himself. state police have identified the suspect as vester flanagan, but he went by bryce williams on television. nbc's haley jackson is on her way to the seen and joins me now on the phone. this is obviously a very fluid situation. we're getting a lot of reports coming in, but it does seem that the immediate danger to the community there is over because the suspect has committed suicide, according to what the virginia state police told our local affiliate in richmond. >> reporter: and what the sheriff's office is saying is that they are no longer searching for the suspect into the shooting. police are up on interstate 66 up in virginia, which is about maybe 90 minutes from where we are right now. at this point, luke, horrific -- people around the country, anybody is heart sick about this, the death of adam ward, photographer, age 27, and alison parker, who just turned 24. both had been in relationships with others at this particular news station based in roanoke,
wdbj. all of this happening right around 6:45 this morning during that live shot that you showed on your program just a second ago. at this point after hours of what's believed to be some kind of pursuit, police tracking this particular suspect, it appears as though the immediate danger is over but it's obviously still a developing situation, luke. >> you raised a great point. we have pete williams, special report live, on the latest. >> reporter: the local cbs affiliate in roanoke. we're not going to show you the entire sequence, but as you'll see the reporter was interviewing a local chamber of commerce official when the shots rang out, six to eight shots. as the cameraman went down, his camera caught a fleeting image of a man who appeared to be holding a gun. police say that was vester lee flanagan, a former station employee, described by the governor of virginia as a disgruntled former employee. law enforcement officials tell us they pursued him on interstate 66 in virginia. as virginia state police pulled
his car over and approached it, they say he fired a fatal shot and killed himself. savannah, matt. >> all right. that was nbc's pete williams right there on a special report of the latest in this situation, and we can confirm to you now that the suspect in the shooting of two local news journalists there in moneta, virginia, has in fact killed himself. he went by bryce williams as his tv name. his name off-air was vester lee flanagan. let's go to nbc's hallie jackson who's in route to this story. you said something off the bat i want to touch on that i think is important. news teams are families and it is with heavy hearts we are reporting this. you work very long hours, you're around each other consistently and constantly. talk about what you feel this newsroom is dealing with at this time, because it's -- this is a first, to have this all unfold
on social media. there are videos put forward by the suspect of him showing this horrific act. we have this entire thing captured on television. this is very new ground for us here in america in 2015. >> reporter: and it's got to be, you would imagine, a nightmare for the folks who know alison and adam. it's our understanding the two had worked together as sort of the morning team. as you know in local news, it's often just the reporter and photographer out there together and they work together as a team for a while now. you heard folks at that station, wdbj talk about how these were just two people out there doing their jobs. this was just like any other live shot on any other morning until, of course, it wasn't. i spoke with the news director at alison's former station and he said that that station in north carolina is not doing well. she was the jacksonville bureau reporter and he said she was fantastic. she was that bright light of a person, a hard worker, always smiling. she never had a bad day. and i think not just in news rooms where the two were known
but in every newsroom you have people grappling with how this has become a reality. >> yes. we should say that alison parker's co-workers said she had the "it" factor, she was going places. and adam ward, the last image he captured was that of the suspect, working until the end. hallie jackson, plo please stay me. i want to bring in mark church. dr. church, what can you tell us about what the police are telling you and the safety of the citizens in that area? >> the sheriff and i have been in contact all day at various points. we have three schools that we put on lockdown that were closest to the area. however, now the sheriff has informed us that we can release lockdown and that there is no threat in the immediate area. >> what are your educators telling children about this? because obviously kids have cell phones, they're engaged in social media.
so much of what happened is spreading through those means. what is the message to the children of the area right now? >> well, the schools that were affected are elementary schools, so very few of them are involved. of course we've notified the parents we were in lockdown. high schools of course are seen on media and we will be working with children with our counselors and our response team for crisis to address the issues with our children in the coming days. >> doctor, take me through a little bit about when you were informed by the sheriff today that your school was going to be put on lockdown and how has the community reacted to all of this news? >> well, the sheriff and i talked early this morning. some of our staff actually watched the incident on the television as they were getting ready to go into their work. and so very quickly the sheriff and i discussed, you know, and
we took their advice on what we need to do for our schools and we made the decision as a school division to put our schools closest on lockdown. we posted officers at those schools. school has gone on as normal, as normal can be at the schools. children have been learning and it's been, you know, a day for most of them just like any other day except we're not -- just now we weren't letting students come in or leave the building. >> dr. church, thank you so much for your time. we appreciate it. let's dip in now to wdbj. that's the affiliate there who is talking about the suspect. let's have a listen what they're saying. >> that the suspected gunman, the suspected killer of two wdbj 7 employees and a smith mountain lake chamber of commerce employee, who is injured and just came out of surgery at roanoke, memorial hospital, the suspected gunman is still alive, has a pulse, is in very critical
condition. this is where this all went down. this is a picture from interstate 66 in fauquier county, virginia. joe, about how far would you say, you have traveled up and down this pike a million times. how far is this from roanoke or from moneta? what we understand is that flanagan apparently rented a car, went down to the lake, again this is all unconfirmed, but this is the theory, and then fled the shooting scene and took off on interstate 81 north to 66. joe, how far away is this? >> 66 is the connector between 81 and washington, d.c. i can't tell you exactly where that spot is on the interstate, but it's probably three to four hours away from here, maybe three, three and a half, something like that. >> from moneta, it would be. >> okay. so this is the latest that we have in from virginia state police. let's go over to amanda kenny. amanda, you've been talking to virginia state police all morning, and we have heard all
sorts of reports as this has transpired. what did they tell you about what actually happened? this was at bridgewater plaza, by the way, those of you who know the lake, it's a very popular, well-known spot there. what more do you know since you've been talking to state police? >> yeah, well, it did happen this morning very early this morning, around 6:45 a.m. it was, you know, a normal day, normal live shot. it was supposed to be a feature story at smith mountain lake celebrating their upcoming 50th anniversary of actually filling up the lake, because it is a man made lake, and they were interviewing vicki gardner. she's with the smith mountain lake chamber of commerce. and that, unfortunately, is when someone started shooting at them and now we do know who that suspect is and that is vester lee flanagan, a former employee here at wdbj 7. also known as bryce williams on the air. this is the video you're seeing
now of the scene, you know, after the shooting had happened. they were actively looking for him. they had a lot of agencies on hand to help them, local, state and federal. and again, it does seem that they have appeared to have found him. as we were just told, vester lee flanagan, also known as bryce williams on the air, is still alive at this moment. he still has a pulse. of course we're going to continue to get you as much information as we can as soon as we can. >> and when you see these reporters in the morning newscasts and kimberly mcbroom can tell you, alison does multiple live shots throughout the 5:00 to 7:00 hour. you're maybe wondering how would this guy know. how could someone get in place and find a crew. we are in a position where we work in a very public industry. we are out there. you know where we are. we are live right now. so alison is live every morning and she might be live at 5:00 -- >> all right, you've been watching wdbj, the local
affiliate in roanoke. the two journalists murdered this morning worked for and their latest on the coverage regarding the suspect, bryce williams was his tv name. off of air he was known as vester flanagan. conflicting reports about whether or not he in fact did kill himself. that's his image right there. so for a reset, if you're just joining us now, around 6:45 a.m. this morning, two local journalists, a reporter and a cameraman, were killed and now it seems they were killed by a disgruntled ex-employee of that station, wdbj, down there in roanoke. that individual, the suspect, then uploaded videos of himself carrying out this horrific act to social media. said that he had done this because he was disgruntled, of things that had occurred to him at the station. he was angry at these two local journalists. there are conflicting reports about whether or not he was leading authorities on some sort of car chase. we then had federal officials
tell our own nbc's pete williams that in fact he had killed himself. do we have pete williams on the line with us now? pete, are you there? >> reporter: i'm here, luke. >> pete, what is the latest from what you are hearing? >> reporter: what we are told is when federal authorities approached vester lee flanagan a short time ago on an interstate highway, i-66, they approached his car and that he then turned the gun on himself and shot himself. we have heard conflicting reports on whether that was a fatal shot or whether he is, as we speak, still alive. we are waiting for confirmation from the state authorities on precisely what his condition is. but obviously the search for him is over. he was found on i-66 after a long, some five-hour search here that involved reports that he may have been in as many as three or four different cars.
and while they were searching for him, he was apparently stopped somewhere and was able to send out social media postings in which he included a video that apparently shows himself doing the -- firing the fatal shots this morning and also complaints about the station and about the people that he shot. so he had in essence a version of why he did this, he wanted the world to know what he did. almost as soon as those things were posted on social media, they were taken down, which is very fast work by twitter and facebook, to deprive him of the ability to in essence claim credit and brag about and explain this crime that he had committed, luke. >> pete, we'll reset the situation. we can now report that nobody in the vicinity of where this happened is in immediate danger. earlier today, obviously, police said there is an active shooter who is armed and dangerous.
this gentleman here, mr. flanagan. pete, i want to touch on the social media presence here because that is something that is so unique to this case. a lot of people found out about the crime via twitter because that broadcast was so public this morning. then you have this suspect putting up these horrific videos of him carrying out this act. do we know yet whether or not authorities were able to use the time of when he uploaded these videos to perhaps locate him? is that something that authorities had the capability of doing in this day and age? >> reporter: no, i don't think that was -- from what i understand that was not a factor. there were some other factors that they were looking at, you know, the fact that you're on a cell phone. he apparently made phone calls while he was on the run, according to the governor. that would probably be of much more use to authorities than to -- than his electronic postings on social media, as
well as the identity, the state police, state authorities quickly got out his name. you know, the single probably most important piece of evidence in this entire shooting is the still frame of video from the cameraman himself, from the local television cameraman. this is an enlargement of it. it's a little hard to tell what it is. but as the cameraman was shot, he's falling to the ground. his camera is turned sideways and he got an image of apparently the gunman aiming the camera right at the -- aiming the gun right at the cameraman. this is a picture of the screen. you see some reflections on it. but this is a frame video from the local television cameraman that was the single most important piece of evidence apparently showing the gunman either about to or having just fired shots at the cameraman after shooting the reporter. >> yeah.
adam ward, the cameraman there, doing his job till the end and getting a very important piece of evidence. >> reporter: luke. >> pete williams, thank you for joining us. i want to toss now to some sound. this is from wdbj, they're the affiliate in roanoke. the suspect was a former employee of the station, a disgruntled employee. take a listen to what the station manager had to say regarding this individual, mr. flanagan. >> we employed him as a reporter and he had some talent in that respect and some experience, although he had been out of the business for a while when he was hired here. he quickly became -- gathered a reputation of someone who was difficult to work with, would you say. he was sort of looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to.
and eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. he did not take that well. we had to call the police to escort him from the building. since then -- well, he then filed an action with the equal opportunity -- >> okay. that was the station manager from wdbj, jeff marks, talking about vester lee flanagan who on tv went by the name of bryce williams. he was the disgruntled employee that authorities believe carried out this horrific murder of two local reporters this morning in southwest virginia. i want to bring in msnbc clint van zandt, a former fbi profiler and jim cavanaugh, a former atf special agent.
clint, let's start off with you here. we have seen incidents like this in the past in the united states and around the world, a disgruntled employee upset, feels the world is out to get him or her, go get a firearm and carry out a senseless act of violence against co-workers. what can we ascertain from the information that you have gotten so far? >> well, so far we've got someone who was media savvy, who understood not only his own anger, frustration, rage that he writes that he's taking out against his two victims, making allegations against them, and realized that he also sent a multi-page, 20, 30-page fax to the television station where these two victims were employed, sent that today, as well as posting on twitter as well as posting the shooting incident itself on a body cam that he was
wearing at the time. so this is a strange combination of someone who can be so angry, frustrated, rageful that he is going to identify his two supposed antagonists and take this terrible act against them and then post his rationale, his motive for doing it, and then commit suicide or attempt, we're told, to commit suicide to deprive the world, to deprive law enforcement and the media the ability to, you know, so to speak, cross examine him for his motives and his rationale. he wanted to be in control. he knew this was likely going to be his last day on this earth in his mind perhaps, and the choreography that he put into this was exactly what he wanted, just like he was setting up a news story, except this was his news story with the last byline perhaps that he thought he would ever attach to one.
>> and that is what is so haunting about this story is how it played out so publicly. we often report on these things during the course of our news gathering, and usually they're not this human this real. you don't hear the screams, you don't see the gun. but when you do, my goodness, the impact it makes on you is so devastating. i can only imagine what the families are feeling. jim, i've got to ask you, we just saw, i think, for the first time in the history of this country something like this play out so publicly where you have viewers being able to watch these horrific acts every single step of the way through social media. does it worry you as a former law enforcement official about copycats, that other people could see the notoriety that this individual, this suspect is getting from this, and this worry about playing out crimes on social media. we certainly see it overseas when it relates to terrorism. is that a worry as a law enforcement official? >> yes, luke, absolutely it is.
there's always a worry that others will copy and people that might be in the same mindset as this shooter, this coward really. and like clint said, and clint is spot-on. this is a guy who's collecting the grievances. everybody who says anything and eventually he gets fired from the station. and he's going to make this elaborate murder probably, like clint said and i would tend to agree, that he was going to go out in a suicide or suicide by c cop, if he was going to make this stuff public immediately or hold it a while is unclear. certainly he would have been a suspect in the shooting pretty quickly, so police would have went to a disgruntled former employee pretty quickly to interview him, even if he thought he could get away initially and the cameraman didn't get his picture. so yes, that's a concern, luke. that's always a concern. we don't teach people well in america how to deal with
setbacks. this guy might have some deep psychosis and the doctors will have to tell us about his past and whether they can glean from that. but he's operating in the workplace. he's operating as a journalist. he's functioning. he's just not getting along with anybody. he's angry, apparently, according to the news director there and so he's let go. and then his answer, rather than, you know, getting another job or getting things together, is revenge. you know, this is the overlying rubric of this motive, revenge. still he wants revenge on the station, revenge on the people that he thinks have wronged him, and that's alison and adam in part, maybe the station as a whole, maybe the world as a whole, and he's going to go out like clint said and make his last story. he's sending a manifesto to one of the networks, he's posted on social media, and this is the world we live in. but twitter took it down quickly. the authorities wanted to
leverage it. no doubt they were trying to get that you can only talk to us. you can only talk to the police. that's the way they probably were working toward when they somehow located him on i-66 toward washington and he shot himself, apparently. >> jim cavanaugh, thanks so much. stay with us. we have a bit of good news now in what has been a horrific day. i want to read a statement, this is from a gentleman, steve arner, who's president and coo of roanoke memorial hospital who says, quote, our hearts are heavy today with the tragic loss of wdbj 7 reporter alison parker and cameraman adam ward in a senseless shooting at smith mountain lake. our family had gotten to know alison and adam well in recent years spending many early mornings with them during live tv reports throughout our facilities in the region. they were more than journalists to us, they were good friends who will be missed. a third victim in this morning's shooting was vicki gardner, a close friend and a member of the
franklin memorial hospital board of directors. she was transported to roanoke mek y memorial hospital and underwent emergency surgery. she is currently recovering and is in stable condition. our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of alison, adam and vicki. so a bit of good news. vicki gardner, who is the woman who was being interviewed by alison parker this morning, talking about the 50th anniversary of that lake at that site, she was rushed to surgery and we can now report survived her wounds, his stable condition and thankfully will stay with us here on this earth. all right, we're going to take a quick break right now. stay with us here on msnbc as we continue to follow the breaking news. but first, one of the victims, reporter alison parker, we want to have this piece in her own words. this video posted to her
station's website earlier this year, she answered the question when she was younger what did she want to be when she grew up. >> when i was younger, i was really interested in the math and science fields. those were always my best subjects in school, but i went the journalism route, which is okay. but when i was younger i wanted to either become a doctor or become a pharmacist, but as a journalist, i get to cover those types of fields, so it's close enough. t you're armed with a roomy new jansport backpack, a powerful new dell 2-in-1 laptop, and durable new stellar notebooks, so you're walking the halls with varsity level swagger. that's what we call that new gear feeling. you left this on the bus... get it at the place with the experts to get you the right gear. office depot officemax. gear up for school. gear up for great.
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i cannot tell you how much they were loved, alison and adam, by the wdbj 7 team. they both were in love, and we'll talk about that a little more, with other members of the team here. our hearts are broken and our sympathies go to the entire staff here. but also the parents and family of adam ward and alison parker,
who were just out doing their job today, covering a story. >> doing their job. that was general manager jeffrey marks at wdbj this morning following the news. all right, more now on what we know at this moment as we follow breaking news from virginia, where state police report the suspect in the deadly shooting of a news reporter and her photographer live on the air this morning has shot himself. the suspect is in critical condition. we should say that again, he's in critical condition. i'm joined now by lenny depaul, a retired chief inspector and commander with the u.s. marshal service. lenny, thank you so much for being on the show with us. >> you're welcome. >> a situation like this, that plays out on live television, where the last act of the photographer, adam ward, was to capture an image of this suspect, what do authorities do with the information when it plays out so publicly and so many people are in some sense almost witnesses? >> well, first of all, luke, my
heart goes out to these innocent victims and their families. the way this whole thing played out and the mental background of this guy, you know, apparently was a self-inflicted gunshot wound. i'm happy to hear it ended that way as opposed to suicide by cop or other innocent victims being shot and killed. with the media and the social media and the way that played out and what his mindset was and what his vision was apparently and how he wanted this thing to play out certainly helped law enforcement. it's consistent with what we look at in social media, how things are being posted and the way they're being put out there. law enforcement, i tip my hat to all of them. i know the u.s. marshals joined the hunt and assisted franklin county sheriff's department and the virginia state troopers in trying to find the suspect once he was identified. they all did an outstanding job. they hit the ground running early this morning. left no stones unturned. they had interviews, they had vehicles in play. they talked to a lot of people.
apparently all of our assets were deployed from the u.s. marshal service, so it did come to an end. and again, i'm happy it ended that way as opposed to another vicious shooting, which was committed early this morning. >> lenny depaul, stay with us. this was obviously a large-scale manhunt throughout the state of virginia. pete williams, our justice correspondent, i understand you have some breaking news about how this suspect was apprehended? >> reporter: the virginia state police have given us a little more detail now on how this all ended here. they say that it was about 11:30 this morning eastern time when virginia state police saw the suspect vehicle heading east on interstate 66. they turned on their emergency lights. they tried to pull the suspect car over. they say the driver refused to stop and sped away. and then a few minutes later, that car ran off the road and crashed. they say the virginia state police approached the car and
found the driver suffering from a gunshot wound. they described the wound as life threatening. they say he's being transported to a nearby hospital. they say the male driver is believed to be the same person who fired the shots this morning in franklin county on the live television broadcast. they say that the sheriff's office, the franklin county sheriff's office down where this happened now will hold a news conference at 2:00 this afternoon to offer further detail. they initially had said 1:00, now they're saying 2:00. so we're still waiting to hear the condition of vester lee flanagan, the suspect in this case. we had earlier been told that the shot that he was suffering from was fatal. now the virginia state police say that it's life threatening and that he's been transported to a hospital, but they don't give a condition here. he's clearly at the hospital now. this was mile marker 16 we're told on interstate 66.
so some distance away from the shooting. luke, all day in the five hours after the shooting until he was finally stopped, four hours and 45 minutes, they had been told to look out for a number of different cars. finally obviously got the description of the correct car, chased him, pulled him over. he crashed and at some point they say he was suffering from a gunshot wound but we've never heard anything from law enforcement that that car was fired on, so the implication is, and we had been told earlier by federal law enforcement officials, that he had shot himself. >> and to put a timeline on that and put it into perspective, the murder occurred at 6:45 a.m. in the roanoke area there in the town of moneta, virginia. and then this occurred, pete, about 11:30 a.m. and in that time frame there is a large-scale manhunt trying to find this suspect.
different varying reports of what type of vehicle he could be traveling in. do we know anything about sort of what tipped them off to where he was and how they engaged in this pursuit? >> reporter: they haven't given us all the details about that. they were -- you know, i think it's no secret that authorities have developed the ability to use a person's cell phone to find them. very often in these conditions of hot pursuit, the authorities can go to the courts and get authority to ask the phone company to give location information using a person's cell phone. the governor had said earlier that flanagan had made a phone call to someone. he called a friend and said he was distraught, so he was using his phone. whether he was also using his phone or other mobile devices to post this material that went up on twitter and facebook, in which he claimed to have grievances against these two and put up a video that he
apparently took of himself firing the shots, that would indicate he was using social media and the police in these -- i'm speculating here to some extent, the police in these hot pursuit situations can use the phone to locate someone. and then, of course, they had also put out a considerable description of him. they had asked other law enforcement people to keep a lookout. so it may have been a combination of those things. >> all right, pete williams, thank you so much for that reporting. i want to bring back lenny depaul. lenny, let's talk a little bit more about what pete just mentioned there, the role of social media in apprehending this suspect. this gentleman, mr. flanagan, nothing like a gentleman i should say, but somebody who is engaged in the use of social media, this all played out so publicly, putting up these videos of him committing this horrific act. to some degree i would say baiting law enforcement, playing this out so publicly. what does law enforcement have at their disposal when somebody
engages in social media like that? can they track ip addresses? do they have phone trackers? i know you can't give away the farm here, but what are some of the things that law enforcement does in a situation like that? >> well, luke, yeah, there's a ton of trade secrets we don't like to talk about and obviously we need to stay ahead of the curve with all that stuff. with the u.s. marshals and their capabilities and the specialized units that the marshal service has, those assets when they're deployed in situations like this are used to their fullest extent. i mean whether it was, as he just said, if it was cell phone tracking or other trade secrets that are utilized, sure, anything is possible. this could have been as simple as somebody spotting one of the vehicles that an all points bulletin or a be on the lookout went out to law enforcement. so there were several cars in play apparently throughout interviews and whatnot. you know, social media certainly can be used to our advantage also. tweeting this photo, the video that you guys have been putting
out via the media, that all works to our advantage. the public certainly was well aware of what happened this morning. somebody could have spotted him and got on their cell phone and made a phone call. consistent with this guy's mental makeup and what he did, he had a game plan. he certainly had a plan a and b and he knew how this was going to play out it sounds like or appears to be that way. who knows what his m.o. was or his motive. they'll be checking out everything. the investigators will take a look at the suspect's cell phones. maybe he had a personal vendetta against one of them, who knows. was he texting them? i and no there was some alleged things going on this morning by him into the station itself. i'm happy it ended the way the idid. >> lenny, stay with me here. i want to reset the scene for viewers who were just tuning in. this morning at 6:45 a.m. during a live report on a local news station, wdbj down there in the roanoke area, two journalists were shot and killed, murdered,
by one of their former colleagues. you had alison parker, a 24-year-old who's up there on the left, and adam ward, a 27-year-old cameraman. lenny, adam ward it seems in his last act was able to get, whether this was intentional or not, it's simply remarkable, get an image of the suspect. when an image of the suspect is broadcast live that quickly, almost in realtime, how beneficial is that for law enforcement? >> luke, that's a home run for law enforcement. if adam captured that purposely or just happened to capture that on his camera, not knowing what was going on, that's what cracked the case. that was all the intel that law enforcement needed at that point. they enhanced that photo. a variety of agencies were deployed, assisting the state troopers. i don't know what kind of criminal history this guy has,
violent past, whatnot. i'm sure that's all been investigated and they certainly know all about this guy. but at that point, you know, it's all hands on deck. it's a full court press. they're connecting the dots. doing interviews, doing what's necessary. but putting that photo out, putting that little video out and that picture, one thing just leads to another. you've got somebody identified. you know, as we say who's who in the zoo. we're going to talk to everybody, interview anybody who's associated with this guy and go from there. apparently that's what happened. >> and a bit of good news on what is a terrible day. vicki gardner, the individual who was being interviewed during that report, we can tell you that she in fact survived the wounds she sustained during this interview with the deceased, alison parker. we just got that information that came in. lenny, i want to ask you about this sort of in a broader sense because this is sort of new territory for us. you have this playing out on live television.
you have different variations of what occurred playing out through social media. then you have the suspect actually broadcasting to the world the crime that he committed in the most horrific way in a video that honestly should not be seen, it's so terrible. do you worry that this is a trend setter, that somebody with the same type of motive, somebody with the same type of mental instability could see something like this, the attention that it's gotten, and be swayed? >> luke, we're way ahead of the curve on this stuff. we thought about this in law enforcement way back when. terrorism is out there, obviously. it's a huge -- you know, in today's society, in today's world, it's all about glory, it's all about filming what you're doing and what's going on. so, yeah, it certainly is a threat to us. i mean it's not new to us. we certainly keep that in play when something like this happens. again, his mental makeup, his mindset was he knew what he was doing, sadly enough. and as a disgruntled employee
videotaping, it's in his swim lane. he's a media savvy kind of guy. so videotape it, put it out there. if he was driving on 66 and he's on his phone tweeting and putting video out, you know, you certainly know what direction this guy is thinking of going. and it ended the way it bend down is consistent with what law enforcement probably had on their minds. so they had to be certainly well aware of what his mindset was. as your previous guest said, was it suicide by cop. you know, he apparently a self-inflicted gunshot wound is the way it's looking. you know, that's where it went, yeah. >> lenny depaul, thank you so much for lending your expertise, we appreciate it. stay with us here on msnbc as we continue to follow the breaking news from virginia. two local journalists were shot and killed live on the air during their morning broadcast. here is their general manager, jeff marks, on his reaction to the tragedy just moments ago. >> i'm going to step out of my role as a former journalist and say i'm not really sure whether
i want him to live or die. if he dies, then he took the coward's way out. and if he lives, he goes on trial and goes to prison for the rest of his life. and in either -- and i presume that. and i'm speaking way out of turn. but i think i'm expressing what viewers think and what many of the co-workers of alison and adam think. yes, if he lives, he's due due process, and this could all be a mistake. i doubt it. but in any case, we're hurt enough that we want to express our anger and we want to express our love for alison and adam, who whenever i saw them here at work were full of smiles and full of conversation and exuberance about what they did. they're going to be so missed and not easily replaced and probably not ever replaced in terms of what they brought to the party. so on behalf of all of us at wdbj 7, i wanted to let that little bit of anger out and that little bit of -- that whole lot of love out.
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good humor, never complains. he would pull cable, and that's maybe in the weeds kind of phrase, a mile if he had to, no complaints. and i always appreciate the little details. if my tie was a little crooked, he'd say dr. denton, i've got to straighten your tie a little bit or always made sure the clip-on was just right, all of that. very positive, very chatty, engaging. that picture of him, that says it all. he loved virginia tech, he loved sports, loved politics. and actually was only in the last couple of times being with him that i was informed that he shared that he was engaged. and he was excited about that next chapter in his life. of course alison, my goodness, again, 5:00 in the morning with the happiest, biggest grin, excitement. intensity, focus, she wanted to be very professional. if things were political, she would sometimes call and ask me for clarification on certain
aspects of it. just two delightful people, which is why it hurts so bad because they were doing what they loved to do, doing excellent work. and it just -- it just breaks my heart. it saddens me. and it also angers me. but they were just delightful. just simply delightful. >> professor, certainly delightful, certainly cheery. you mentioned that that morning hour when people just want their coffee and they want to get on with the world and don't necessarily want to exchange pleasantries, but these two were more than willing. talk about their work ethic. you touched on it. you have alison parker calling you to clarify something regarding a report she might be doing in terms of politics and adam ward helping you not only with your tie but wanting to learn from you, an expert in the field. talk about that thirst for knowledge they both seemed to
have. >> well, that's what was also, and maybe i shouldn't use the term, but for me the joy in what i would call mentoring them as well. it was such engaging interaction and conversation between the different live shots. you know, and the downtime, very conversational, very interesting in terms of the questions and banter back and forth. alison absolutely focused -- she wanted to do well. she was very conscious in terms of her entire performance, wanted to go over the questions, making sure that they were right. adam, of course, unflappable. you know, in the field there's
wait. it w he was just that kind of person. and for some people, of course they were irritating at 5:00 in the morning because they were too cheerful and too on top of it. anyway, it was just -- >> certainly fun loving, fun loving and a thirst for life, both of them. you work with this station, wdbj. obviously what's happened to them today is so hurtful on so many levels. talk about that station, the atmosphere there and the sort of local news family that they are. >> well, they are a family station and it's the number one station in the market. there's a great deal of stability. i actually left the nbc affiliate, don't throw anything at me, and went to wdbj 7. i've been there, this will be my third election cycle coming in the fall. they are a very close-knit, very
stable. talent comes, stays. and again, this is kind of inside the beltway kind of talking, but it's a very quiet newsroom and very focused, very professional. they kind to each other. again, you can count the talent and what have you on one hand and two hands, ten, and the support staff. so helpful, kind, courteous. it's been an honor for me to be associated with them. and when they talk about family, it's not just today. they have a reputation of being family and loyal to each other and anyway, as an organization, you couldn't -- you just can't beat them. you can't beat them. >> professor denton from virginia tech, colleague of both of them who actually taught adam ward at virginia tech, thank you so much for sharing your remembrances on what is a very difficult day for you. we appreciate your time. >> well, you're very kind. and i just would be remiss if i
didn't say how much i honor your father. >> oh, you're very kind. thank you. >> he did my little television show out of roanoke many years ago. >> thank you very much. i appreciate that. alison parker and adam ward were shot and killed this morning during their live broadcast. here are their colleagues reacting to the very personal tragedy. >> we've lost two friends, two co-workers. families have lost their daughter, their son, fiance, girlfriend. these two were more than what you saw here on tv. they were much, much more. and they're family and we've lost two members of our family. >> how could this individual have robbed these families, the families of alison and adam, of their lives and their happiness and their love. >> a question that we're all trying to answer today. nbc's hallie jackson is on the
phone with me en route to that area of virginia. hallie, so much at play here with them as people. alison parker, romantically involved with her co-worker, who's doing one of the newscasts there. said we were almost together no nine months. it was the best nine months of our lives. we wanted to get married . we had just celebrated her 24th birthday. she was the most radiant woman i ever met and for some reason she loved me back. she loved her family, her parents and her brother. i'm comforted by everybody here at wdbj. we are a family. she worked with adam every day, they are a team. i am heart broken for his fiancee. hallie, just heart-wrenching stuff. >> yeah, it is. and you're talking about adam's fiancee, morning show producer. she apparently was in the control room when this shooting unfolded live on their morning show. she was set to leave for a new job in charlotte the very next
day. adam was going to go with her. these were young people who were making plans for themselves, luke. you look at alison, she was just 24 years old. she had just turned 24. she graduated from james madison. she was involved there. she was the editor of the paper at the college, grew up outside martinsville. she had worked her first job -- one of her first jobs in december of 2012. she started at a local news station in north carolina, news channel 12. i got off the phone with the news director there and he tells me that the station is devastated. alison, as we've been talking about, was just this bright light. i asked what is your coverage? he said we are going to celebrate her life. we are going to talk to people who knew her and pay trib ult to this amazing young woman. in her spare time alison liked to cankayak, and she had been dating that anchor person as well. adam also a great young man, 27 years old. had been working for the station since july of 2011. he had gone to virginia tech,
went to salem high school. both of these homegrown right here in virginia and just devastating for anybody who knew them. >> hallie jackson, nbc news. thank you so much for that reporting. follow her reports throughout the day from moneta, virginia. that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." before we go, here's a quick recap of what we know about the devastating shooting of two journalists in virginia this morning. wdbj reporter alison parker and photographer adam ward were fatally shot at 6:45 a.m. during a live broadcast at moneta, virginia. vester flanagan, using the name bryce williams, was a disgruntled former reporter at the station. following a police chase williams shot himself and is in critical condition. one other person, vicki gardner, from the local chamber of commerce, was shot and injured. she was being interviewed. thankfully, she is in stable condition after emergency surgery. msnbc live with thomas roberts is next. thank you for your time on this terrible day. ep trauma unit 5.
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hi, everybody, i'm thomas roberts. major breaking news and fluid developments after a roanoke tv reporter and her videographer were shot and killed on morning tv during the morning news for station viewers to witness. officials from the franklin county sheriff's office are going to update this investigation, also update the capture of the alleged shooter. vester lee flanagan, also known as bryce williams. flanagan is a former reporter and co-worker of the people that were killed. authorities say the alleged 41-year-old shooter shot himself in his car when he was approached by police. he is a former reporter for the station, dismissed two years ago according to wdbj in roanoke. twitter and facebook accounts believed to have belonged to the suspect posted video of the shootings as well as tweets apparently justifying w