this is "nightline." >> tonight, on-air tragedy. the tv reporter and cameraman murdered on live television. the gunman, a fired former colleague rorg the attack himself, posting it on social media. the clues in the manifesto and suicide notes he sent directly to abc news. as the victims' loved ones speak out. >> our family has lost two incredibly vivacious people. plus, they seem scary but can killer cobras actually be tamed? our journey to track down the snake charmers of india and uncover age-old secrets. roy-al attire. if you think michelle obama and kim kardashian west have nothing in common, think again.
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good evening. tonight, new details about the deranged kill history went after his former colleagues on live television. filming the attack and posting it to social media. all to draw attention to his twisted vendetta. we refuse to grant his wish by playing his videos. he also sent a 23-page suicide message directly to abc news. tonight, what we're learning about how his life unraveled. here's abc's senior law and justice correspondent jim avila. >> this is my memory of her. when we had our six-month anniversary. she made a scrapbook for me. >> reporter: a boyfriend's broken heart. and this small southwestern virginia town gripped by heartache. >> when i walk around and would run into allison or adam, it was a high point of my day. they always made me smile. >> reporter: two young journalists from cbs affiliate station wdbj gunned down on live television. the victims at their most
vulnerable focused on their live interview when real gunfire, unedited and live. >> people who come here to say that -- [ gunshots ] >> reporter: the gunman, feet away, lurking. his weapon pointed directly at them, roughly 15 shots. and after the victims fall -- >> okay, not sure what happened there -- >> reporter: the stunned local anchor, unsure about what just happened -- >> i heard pow, pow, pow, pow, pow. it did not register that it's gunshots. she's doing a feature story at the lakes so my mind did not go to that worst case scenario. >> reporter: the lives and promising careers of reporter alison parker, 24, and cameraman adam ward, 27, cut short. >> i'm here with vicki gardner -- >> reporter: the day beginning like most any other. the morning crew, reporter alison, cameraman adam ward, doing an interview about tourism with a local official, vicki gardner in moneta, virginia. this freeze frame released by
police caught in the dying cameraman's lens, revealing an image of the shooter, quickly identified as bryce william, the professional name for vester lee flanagan ii. up until about two years ago an on-air reporter at the station. >> bryce williams, wdbj 7. >> reporter: flanagan fleeing, at large, places a call to abc news calling himself bryce, saying that he's just shot two people. abc immediately contacted authorities and back at the station this solemn announcement. >> it is my very, very sad duty to report that we have determined through the help of the police and our own employees that alison and adam died this morning. >> reporter: vicki gardner is in the hospital in stable condition. by mid-morning the police in hot pursuit, the shooter on the road east towards the nation's capital. interstate 66. weave authorities could catch up flanagan took to social media,
tweeting, i filmed the shooting, see facebook. and, not stopping there, actually posting his own video of the shooting, rolling as he fires, and sending off to facebook and twitter video we will not show here. the sites suspended his account. >> flanagan then fled before deputies arrived on the scene. the franklin county sheriff's office with the assistance of the virginia state police immediately began a search operation in the area to locate the shooting suspects. >> reporter: in what appears to be a calculated may nuf ed mane flanagan fled in a rented sonic. virginia state police spotting the suspect's rental car. the suspect refusing to stop. instead running the vehicle off the road and crashing. a trooper approaches the car. >> she found flanagan suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. flanagan was flown from the scene to a nova fairfax hospital where he died at approximately 1:30 p.m. today.
>> reporter: during his escape from the murder scene, two hours after the shooting, flanagan sent a fax to abc news offices in new york from this fedex location in roanoke, a 23-page manifesto and suicide letter which abc news turned over to authorities. in it he identifies himself as bryce williams and says god spoke to him. he writes, the church shooting was the tipping point. but my anger has been building steadily. i've been a human powder keg for a while. just waiting to go boom. he claims to be the victim of racial and sexual harassment and bullying at his old workplace, wdbj. the photogs were out to get me at wdbj 7. one went to hr after only working with me one time. and then this. yes, it will sound like i am angry. i am. and i have every right to be. but when i leave this earth, the only emotion i want to feel is peace. his former colleagues describe flanagan as a disturbed and unhappy map. >> we knew he had anger.
we did not know he had violent anger. >> bryce williams, wdbj 7. >> reporter: here in his reporters reel uploaded to youtube two years ago, flanagan can be seen holding a gun in a report he had done. >> he went on and filed a complaint with the equal employment opportunity commission, groundless claims of discrimination, harassment, it was dismissed. >> reporter: he says flanagan began to have aggressive run-ins with colleagues. in february 2013, flanagan was called into the boss' office and fired cdue to unsatisfactory jo performance and inability to work as a team member. as police escorted him out he threw a cross at a station manager and said, "you're going to need this." >> vester? little vester? no, i mean -- right now i can't wrap my head around it. it's a nightmare. >> reporter: law enforcement experts say that this was a calculated attack. watching for the live shot.
the fax. the prerented car. all showing sure signs of premeditation. >> he used the tools of his trade to communicate and to bring greater visibility to his attack. >> reporter: tonight a bomb squad raiding his roanoke apartment searching for any clues that might be inside. tonight a spokesman for the shooter's family reading this statement. >> it is with heavy hearts and deep sadness we express our deepest condolences to the families of allison parker and adam ward. we are also praying for the recovery of vicki gardner. >> reporter: investigators looking for a motive have a long road ahead. and the loved ones of alison and adam have a somber journey. today their family and colleagues at wdbj in mourning. >> i cannot tell you who much they were loved, alison and adam, by the wdbj-7 team. >> reporter: included in that number, ward and parker's
significant others. both were in relationship with co-workers. ward engaged to a producer who happened to be watching it unfold in the control room. and parker was dating another reporter, chris hurst, who posted these moving tributes on facebook and twitter. >> we would always be concerned, texting each other when we got to work safely. she texted me, good night, sweet boy. that was the last i ever heard from her. >> reporter: late this evening alison's father and boyfriend spoke with fox news. >> we can only take some solace in the fact that she had a wonderful life. she was extremely happy. and she loved this guy with all her heart. ♪ >> reporter: and the community itself jolted by what it saw on live tv this morning. an unedited murder. tonight leaving flowers and praying in front of the tv station many of them woke up with every morning. for "nightline," i'm jim avila in roanoke, virginia. >> a sad footnote, one co-worker at their station tweeting that
the wedding dress for cameraman adam ward's fiancee was just delivered today. our thoughts are with their grieving families and the wdbj family. up next our journey to meet india's snake charmers. plus what do michelle obama and kim kardashian have in common? designer rachel roy. yes, she can dress anyone. now she's got her sights set on you. ent kind of medicine that lowers blood sugar. imagine what it would be like to love your numbers. discover once-daily invokana®. it's the #1 prescribed in the newest class of medicines that work with the kidneys to lower a1c. invokana® is used along with diet and exercise to significantly lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. it's a once-daily pill that works around the clock. here's how: the kidneys allow sugar to be absorbed back into the body.
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the fastest internet and the best tv experience is already here with x1. only from xfinity. for the vast majority of us, snakes are rarely a welcome sight. tonight you're going to meet a group of people who claim they can handle them, no sweat. these unique professionals claim to control cobras so deadly just one bite could be lethal. gloria riviera takes us back to india to face her fears and find out the secrets of snake charmers. >> reporter: hollywood has a long tradition of being afraid of snakes. from indiana jones' worst nightmare -- >> snakes. why did it have to be snakes. >> reporter: to the enemy that nearly finished samuel jackson off in "snakes on a plane."
>> everybody listen! we have to put a barrier between us and the snakes! >> reporter: so why on earth would we travel all the way to india -- >> snakes! >> reporter: to come face-to-face with this? a cobra so deadly, one bite and you're done. because in india, snakes aren't reviled, they're revered icons in the hindu religion. we're looking for their modern-day keepers, snake charmers, men able to hypnotize these venomous creatures into a tranquil dance, a disappearing trade. >> we are on the road to the outskirts of delhi going to a snake charmers village. because of what they do, their art, they're a marginalized community. hi. gloria, hi. >> reporter: we meet shiva, a man helping snake charmers survive. it's not easy. the wildlife protection act of 1972 banned owning a snake. snake charming, seen as
inhumane. but shiva tells us the men he knows treat their snakes like family. >> how big of these snakes? >> reporter: there's just one thing -- like indy, i also hate snakes. >> i just need to be prepared for how big these things are. >> reporter: which is a small problem because shiva is taking me to meet men who live with cobras. >> this isn't a good idea. >> reporter: when we return mondi it's quiet. almost deserted. >> this is an illegal community, they're not supposed to be here but they really have no other option for where to go. >> reporter: like gypsies, snake charmers live in fringe colonies. >> i'm going to go talk to one of the guys who's agreed to show us his snake. hello, thank you. >> reporter: we meet a snake charm history tells us god lessed his faless blessed his family with the
ability to charm snakes. >> you're taking that out right now? >> yeah, he is. >> he's taking the snake out right now. okay. should i stay right here? oh! >> reporter: me now off the bed, he says he got this one just ten days ago. he's been feeding it milk and chicken. he says cobras are actually quite shy animals. only attacking when provoked. when they bite their fangs deliver a deadly neuro toxin from their venom glands. just then, unfazed, he says he has a medicine that neutralizes the poison. i'm not so sure. >> the poison won't go inside the body. >> has he ever been bitten? have you ever been bitten? [ speaking foreign language ] >> jimmy: so many times you've been bitten? >> i wouldn't mind a stash of that medicine myself. but he proves his point. >> aah! okay, okay, that's definitely -- don't need to do that.
wow. wow. holy moly, wow. >> reporter: heading out to meet more snakes -- great -- i'm starting to wonder if there's more to this. even the children here don't bat an eyelash. during an impromptu performance -- yes, that's me hiding behind a toddler -- we see what has captivated audiences for centuries. this killer cobra swaying to the music in a tranquil dance. ♪ >> reporter: just briefly i am as beguiled as the snake swaying to the music. that is, until i talk to this guy. >> the music is really for you. >> the music for the tourists? >> the snake has no clue what it's doing. >> reporter: wait a minute, what? turns out cobras are essentially deaf. snake charming, a sham. >> and the pipe is only to get the snake all worked up. >> reporter: this is the cofounder of wildlife s.o.s., an
animal rights guru of delhi. for years he's been rallying against snake charming. it's not the music, he says. >> look at his knee. can you see his knee moving? that's what's keeping the snake engrossed. >> reporter: that deadly venom? not so much. >> right there, the venom is gone? >> oh, yes, absolutely. >> reporter: wish i'd known that earlier. >> they're as mortal as you and i are. they get bitten and they get killed. >> reporter: snake charmers remove the fangs and quite often the venom glands, a painfully imprecise procedure that can kill the snake. >> can you see the depressions on either side? see that? can you see that depression? that's where the venom gland would have kept it puffed out. no snake charmer will ever have a cobra which is not defanged, which does not have the venom glands intact. it just does not happen. >> reporter: as for the medicine the snake charmer claim to have had on hand? that's highly unlikely. >> you look at this and you
said, this is not anything close to truth? >> absolutely. >> okay. well, i was just the most gullible tourist in delhi. >> reporter: he tries to rescue as many cobras as he can, convincing some charmers to turn in their flutes and help him. back in the village, shiva is trying to educate the next generation so they have options. >> do you think they're beautiful? [ speaking foreign language ] >> the snakes are beautiful and you're not afraid at all? i'm afraid, i'm afraid. >> reporter: for now, snake charmer is still their family business. for "nightline," gloria riviera, abc news, mondi, india. up next, what's the secret behind wildly different looks from kim kardashian to michelle obama? how designer rachel roy appeals to them all. hey terry stop! they have a special!
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wow. college already. ( chuckles ) yeah. - ( engine starts ) - we gotta go. ♪ for all the truth that you made me see... ♪ i love you. ♪ for all the joy you brought to my life... ♪ i love you too, daddy. ♪ you're the one who saw me through... ♪ and thanks - for everything. - ♪ through it all... - ♪ you were my strength when i was weak... ♪ - ( woman speaks ) a message from the foundation for a better life. but at this moment, she's fighting a brain tumor.
announcer: please take a moment and join st. jude in finding cures and saving children. visit stjude.org. rachel roy is not your average celebrity fashion designer with a niche. her clothes are fit for everyone. from a reality tv star to the first lady of the united states. but tonight she tells abc's rebecca jarvis she's looking for a slightly more relatable customer now. >> reporter: kim kardashian wowing in a see-through dress. first lady michelle obama demure and polished. the woman behind their looks? rising fashion star rachel roy. >> dream come true. hanging out in rachel roy's closet. every celebrity out there -- kate hudson, kim kardashian,
gwyne gwyneth paltrow -- they've been photographed in your clothes are that must be amazing. >> it absolutely does feel amazing. >> reporter: toasting kim kardashian's engagement to kanye west on "keeping up with the kardashians." >> both of you are such an example of love. >> reporter: but her inspiration doesn't come from the a-list. >> what inspires me to design are women that i can see right outside of our windows here. a girl that i know probably doesn't have a ton of money and she made the decision to buy one of my pieces because it made her feel good. honestly, that's the best. >> reporter: affordability. one of her label's main goals. rachel's line at macy's features many pieces priced below $50. rachel says the key to a great closet is picking up a few key pieces. >> one thing that should be in every woman's closet. >> a trench coat. i think it slenderizes you. equal parts strong asand sexy.
>> reporter: a jumpsuit. >> i consider them the little black dress. >> reporter: just like chrissy teigen, don't forget a tailored the blazer. >> there's nothing like a the blazer that's custom to you. it will frame anything. >> reporter: for "nightline," rebecca jarvis in new york. >> that's a beautiful life. thanks for watching abc news. tune into "good morning america" tomorrow. as always we are online 24/7 on our "nightline" facebook page and abcnews.com. forged out of bravery, sacrifice, and duty. from all corners of the country, a family for life. ♪ but whether they served in lands far away or communities close to home, some of these men and women may face difficult times or even crisis.
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