At about 6:45 a.m., Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner live on air. Video shows them hearing shots, screaming and ducking for cover. The camera appears to drop to the ground and captures what seems to be a fleeting image of the gunman. The station then cuts away from the live feed and back to its studio.
Gardner, the head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was reportedly shot in the back, underwent surgery and is in stable condition, WDBJ7 reported during its noon broadcast. A vigil of about 50 people was held for Gardner at Bethlehem United Methodist Church on Wednesday evening, The Associated Press reported.
President Barack Obama was among the many people expressing sadness over the shootings.
“What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism,” he told ABC News.
Parker just turned 24 and attended James Madison University, where she was the editor of the school's newspaper, The Breeze. According to her Facebook page, she spent most of her life outside Martinsville, Virginia. She was an avid kayaker and attended community theater events in her spare time. It appears her last report for WDBJ was on neglected foster children.
Her boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, said on Twitter they hadn't shared their relationship publicly but “were very much in love.” He said they had just moved in together and wanted to get married. She had just finished a special package on child abuse for the station, he said.
“I am numb,” he tweeted.
Parker's father, Andy, wrote in a press release that he, her mother Barbara and brother Drew were “devastated” by her death.
“Not hearing her voice again crushes my soul. Our family can only take solace in the fact that although her life was brief, she was so happy with it,” he wrote.
The station's website says Ward was 27 and a graduate of Virginia Tech. He was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott, according to WDBJ spokesman Mike Morgan. Ott was in the control room Wednesday morning as the shooting happened on live television.
With wire services. Azure Gilman contributed reporting.