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.
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.
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 are also 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.”