The father of a young journalist fatally shot by a gunman during an on-air segment in Virginia Wednesday said in an interview on Fox News that he wants to make it harder for the mentally ill to get guns.
Television reporter Alison Parker, 24 and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were killed after former co-worker Vester Lee Flanagan II ambushed them during a live interview at around 6:43 a.m. at a shopping center in Moneta, Virginia, police said. Flanagan killed himself hours later as police chased him on an interstate.
“He was a crazy man that got a gun,” Parker’s father, Andy Parker, told Fox News host Megyn Kelly
on “The Kelly File” Wednesday evening.
“I’m going to do something, whatever it takes, to get gun legislation — to shame people, to shame legislators into doing something about closing loopholes and background checks and making sure crazy people don’t get guns,” Andy Parker said.
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It was not clear Wednesday night how Flanagan obtained the weapon he allegedly used to kill Parker and Ward, or if Flanagan had anything in his past that would have prevented him from owning a gun.
Flanagan, 41, has been described as a volatile former reporter at the TV station, WDBJ7 in Roanoke. He was fired in 2013 after a series of confrontations with co-workers, according to employment records.
After Flanagan allegedly opened fire on the two journalists and a woman being interviewed, a man claiming to be Flanagan sent a
long fax to ABC News alleging discrimination and referencing other mass shooters. Flanagan also apparently posted video of the murders on social media.
Alison Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, who is an anchor at WDBJ7, also appeared on “The Kelly File” Wednesday and dismissed the allegations made in the letter sent to ABC News. “Alison and Adam carried no hate in their heart and expressed no hate or ill will,” Hurst said.
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“I do not think that anybody at WDBJ7 was intentionally rude or discriminatory to him,” Hurst said.
“Clearly, someone who has decided to take premeditated take action and kill two people in cold blood, and try to kill a third is not someone who is making rational and lucid thoughts when he issues what you are identifying as a manifesto,” Hurst said.
“So I don’t think you can take anything that is said in any of his writings, and take it as something that is to be believed,” he said.
Flanagan was a reporter at the station for less than a year, from March 2012 until February 2013. When Flanagan was fired on Feb. 1, 2013, police had to escort him from the building and employees were warned to call 911 if he returned, according to employment records.
Alison and Hurst lived together. Because he anchored in the evenings and she working in the mornings, he would make her breakfast and pack her lunch and kiss her goodbye each morning.
“She would always text me, we would always be concerned, texting each other when we got to work safely. And she texted me, ‘Good night, sweet boy’ and that was the last that I had ever heard from her,” Hurst said on Fox.
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Andy Parker said his daughter “lived a great life” and loved what she did.
“We can only take some solace in the fact that she had a wonderful life, she was extremely happy, and she loved this guy with all her heart,” he said, referring to Hurst.
“That’s the toughest thing for me. Everybody that she touched loved her, and she loved everybody back,” Andy Parker said.
“I’m not going to let this issue drop … We’ve got to do something about crazy people getting guns,” he said.
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