Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, a cameraman, were killed on the morning of Aug. 28 by an ex-WDBJ7 reporter, Vester Lee Flanagan II, known professionally as Bryce Williams, during a live television broadcast. Parker and Ward both died from gunshot wounds to the head, and a third victim, Vicki Gardner, is currently in stable condition. Flanagan, fired two years ago, shot himself with the same Glock used in the attack as he was approached by authorities on I-66 in northern Virginia, 200 miles away from where the shooting took place. He was taken to a local hospital and pronounced dead at approximately 1:30 p.m. The weapon, along with assorted gun magazines, multiple license plates and a wig were found inside the crashed vehicle. Prior to the attack, Flanagan sent ABC News a fax outlining his motivations and said he was inspired to buy a gun after the June church attack, in which nine people were killed.
The increased frequency of shootings and the desensitization of the American public to gun-violence have sparked yet another conversation about increased gun regulations and mental health.
According to a 2001 study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which looked specifically at 34 adolescent mass murderers, all male, 70 percent were described as loners, 61.5 percent had problems with substance abuse, 48 percent had preoccupations with weapons and 43.5 percent had been victims of bullying.
“It is a mental health issue, but there’s a linkage there between gun and mental health. And there’s got to be some kind of protocol established so that we can keep people from getting guns,” Andy Parker, Alison’s father, told CNN’s Jake Tapper.
Like so many affected by gun violence before him, Parker is urging President Obama to tackle the issue of gun control.