NEW YORK -- The brutal murder of reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, on Wednesday morning was met with disbelief by newsrooms throughout the world and across social media.
The gunman remains a threat, with the motive for the killings and the shooter’s identity still unknown. Tributes appeared on Twitter soon after it was announced that the pair had been slain in the attack.
Most poignant were tweets from Parker's boyfriend, who called her "the most radiant woman he'd ever met," and disclosed that the couple had recently moved in together. Wednesday was Parker's last day on the job for TV station WDBJ7.
We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married.We just celebrated her 24th birthday— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015
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.— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015
I am comforted by everyone at @WDBJ7. We are a family. She worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancee.— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015
The reporter and anchor was described as a "rock star" by colleagues at the station. Parker and Ward were killed a 6.45am local time whilst filming a tourism feature. The pair were conducting an interview at the Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta when they were killed.
Vicki Gardner, head of the SML Chamber of Commerce, was being interviewed and was shot in the back. She is currently in hospital.
General manager of WDBJ-TV Jeff Marks said: "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 shortly after 6.45 after the shots rang out."
He added: "We do not know the motive, we do not know who the killer is. I just got off the phone with the state police they are working very diligently to track down both the motive and the person responsible for this crimes against two very fine journalists."
Many took to twitter to express disbelief at the tragedy, while pleading with the media not to show the video of the killing. Most outlets have not included the tape in their coverage.
Devastated. How can you make sense of this? Praying for the families and co-workers of Alison Parker and Adam Ward. #WBDJ— Michele Niec (@MicheleNiec) August 26, 2015
Sitting here in utter disbelief. I am bsolutely heartbroken to hear these 2 young journalists were gunned down in such a horrific way. #WBDJ— Amy Kaufeldt (@Fox35Amy) August 26, 2015
Very sad moment in the newsroom as the WDBJ GM confirms that both the reporter and photographer are dead. Senseless pic.twitter.com/qWvWd55UZh— K.C. Spiron (@KCSpiron) August 26, 2015
The gunman could be a "disgruntled employee" of the television station, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has claimed. His comments came as a picture of the gunman, taken from footage captured on Adam Ward's camera, began circulating.