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.
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.
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.