MONETA (WSLS 10) – Police are searching for a man who they say shot at multiple people Wednesday morning, killing WDBJ7’s reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photojournalist Adam Ward, 27, at the Bridgewater Plaza near Smith Mountain Lake.
Franklin County sheriff’s officials confirmed the shooting occurred around 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, August 26 at the Bedford County-Franklin County line in Moneta.
WDBJ7 says the shooting occurred during their live shot and are asking for prayers during this difficult time.
— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015
Alison Parker was interviewing Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce Vicki Gardner during their morning newscast when the attack happened. According to Special Projects Manager, Barb Nocera, Vicki Gardner was being interviewed regarding SML’s 50th Anniversary by WDBJ when Vicki was shot. She is now in surgery at Roanoke Memorial Hospital.
The 50th Anniversary Steering Committee and Business Meetings that were scheduled for Wednesday afternoon are cancelled.
Franklin County Sheriff’s deputies have secured the area where the shooting occurred and say they’re respectfully asking that the public and media stay away from this area for their safety and so that deputies can move forward with the investigation.
If anyone has information about the identity of the gunman or other information that may assist investigators, they are asked to call 911 or the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at 540-483-3000.
Virginia State Police say some media outlets are reporting that they are in pursuit of the suspect vehicle involved in the fatal shootings. This is WRONG. Virginia State Police say they are not engaged in any pursuit with the suspect vehicle. The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigative agency on this incident.
The Sheriff’s Office is being assisted by local, state and federal agencies. A news conference has been scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Wednesday at the Willard Office Plaza location. This incident remains under investigation.
At this time, Bedford County Public Schools are on perimeter lock-down until further notice, according to the superintendent. Windy Gap, Dudley, and Burnt Chimney Elementary Schools in Franklin County, as well as Lexington City schools are on lock-down.
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine released the following statement on the horrific attack in Moneta, Virginia today:
“There are no words to express how heartbroken I am by the senseless tragedy in Moneta this morning. My deepest sympathies go out to the loved ones of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, as well as the entire WDBJ family. I ask everyone to join me in praying for Vicki Gardner who was seriously injured in this attack and all of the local authorities and first responders who are working to find the perpetrator of this horrific crime.”
RTDNA sent out a statement Wednesday following the tragic shootings:
“RTDNA is horrified and saddened by the senseless deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, the two WDBJ employees,” said Mike Cavender, RTDNA Executive Director. “While the shootings are under investigation, our most sincere sympathies go out to their families and friends and all who worked with them at WDBJ.”
“Tragically, these shootings are the worst example in a continuing series of attacks on live television crews,” he added, “Safety and security of our people is always of paramount concern, but as these attacks show, such violence can occur even in the most unexpected of situations.”