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Reporter, photographer shot to death on air in Virginia

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MONETA, Va. — A news reporter and photographer were conducting a run-of-the-mill interview on a local business in rural Virginia when a gunman opened fire Wednesday morning, killing them both on live TV.

Alison Parker was interviewing a woman at approximately 6:45 a.m. when shots rang out. Both women screamed.

As the camera fell to the ground, the audience caught the briefest glimpse of a man who appeared to pointing a gun toward the downed cameraman.

The station cut away to a shocked anchor, Kimberly McBroom, back in the studio.

Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were killed in the shooting at Bridgewater Plaza near Moneta, the station reported later.

Vicki Gardner, the WDBJ interviewee who was wounded in Wednesday's shooting in Virginia, still is in stable condition at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital, hospital spokesman Chris Turnbull told reporters at a 2 p.m. news conference. The president of the chamber of commerce for which Garner works said that her relatives and friends were with her at the hospital.

The gunman is believed to have fired six or seven times, WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks said. He remains on the loose. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is participating in the manhunt. Area schools are on lockdown.

"We do not know the motive. We do not know who the killer is," Marks said during the station's coverage of the shooting. "We do know the Franklin County sheriff ... they are working very diligently to track down both the motive and the person responsible for this terrible crime against two fine journalists.

"Our hearts are broken," Marks said, explaining that Parker's and Ward's colleagues are "holding back tears."

McBroom described Parker as a "rock star."

"You throw anything at that girl and she could do it," the anchor said.

Another journalist at the anchor's desk said Ward was engaged to a morning show producer at WDBJ and Ward recently told her, "I'm going to get out of news. I think I'm going to do something else."

Parker was the morning reporter for the Roanoke station and a native of Virginia, having spent most of her life outside Martinsville. She started with WDBJ as an intern, her biography on the station's website says.

The young reporter was dating a colleague, who revealed the news after learning his girlfriend had been killed.

"We didn't share this publicly, but @AParkerWDBJ7 and I were very much in love," Chris Hurst said in a tweet. "We just moved in together. I am numb."

Parker previously worked with another CNN affiliate, WCTI, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

She was a graduate of James Madison University's School of Media Arts and Design in Harrisonburg.