Twenty-four-year-old Alison Parker just celebrated her birthday last week, while 27-year-old Adam Ward was engaged to be married. Today, their lives were cut short in yet another act of gun violence.
This morning, Alison and Adam were murdered during a live broadcast by a disgruntled employee of WBDJ7 in Roanoke, Virgina. Since then, images and video have surfaced on social media of the terrifying incident.
Not only did the shooting unfold on television, but the shooter, Vester Flanagan (also known as Bryce Williams), shared his own disturbing video from the scene on Twitter and Facebook.
But these images are not how the victims should be remembered.
While attending James Madison University, Alison was the news editor for the school’s nationally recognized newspaper, The Breeze. Upon her graduation in 2012, Alison worked as a reporter in North Carolina before starting her career at WDBJ7 as an intern.
According to her Facebook page, Alison enjoyed whitewater kayaking, community theater, and playing with her family dog, Jack. In a video posted on WDBJ7’s website, Alison shared 7 fun facts about herself, including that her favorite food was Mexican and her favorite television show was House of Cards.
She was in a serious relationship with fellow WDBJ7 colleague, Chris Hurst, who shared a moving tribute to his girlfriend on Twitter and Facebook following her death.
WDBJ7 President & General Manager Jeffrey A. Marks described the couple to CNN as “very much enamored with each other. They put smiles on each other’s faces. They were planning ahead.”
While growing up in Salem, Virginia, Adam played football before attending Virginia Tech University. He was reportedly “a huge Hokies fan.” After graduating with a degree in communications, he began to work behind the camera at WDBJ7 in 2011.
He was engaged to morning producer Melissa Ott.
Adam proudly shared news of his engagement on Twitter:
Horribly, Melissa was watching from the control room as the shooting happened. Jeffrey A. Marks shared that today was Melissa’s last day at the station, as she was to move on to a new position in Charlotte. Adam planned to follow her there.
He is being remembered by friends, family, and coworkers as “one of nicest people you could ever meet. Always friendly and smiling.”
May Alison and Adam rest in peace.