Breaking news coverage immediate following the murders of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, employees of WDBJ news in Roanoake, Virginia.
8.15.2015 -- Roanoke, Virginia
VO: This footage was taken during a live broadcast from the state of Virginia, in the United States, on the morning of the 26th. Immediately after this, a shocking series of images are delivered to viewers over the airwaves. After 8 gunshots and screams of terror, the camera falls on the ground.
TELEVISION ANCHOR: Okay, not sure what happened there. We will of course, let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were from.
VO: The footage is switched to a shot of the studio, and the anchor is unable to hide her shock at the sudden turn of events.
CORRESPONDENT STAND-UP: The tragedy occurred at this lakeside building behind me. Normally a quiet resort community, the area is now abuzz with activity as national and international media pour in.
VO: The live report was taking place at a lakeside shopping mall in Moneta, Virginia. A reporter and cameraman from a local station affiliated with CBS television were interviewing a representative of the local chamber of commerce. Then a man suddenly appeared carrying a gun, and began firing on the three individuals. After the cameraman was shot and collapsed, his camera captured this image of the armed man.
The female reporter, Alison Parker (24) and the cameraman, Adam Ward (27) both died. The woman being interviewed was also wounded in the attack.
VO: The suspect in the attack is Vester Flanagan (41), a former colleague of the two victims who worked at the same television station. He fled following the incident but his car veered off the road while being pursued by police, at which point he committed suicide with his gun. Flanagan posted footage of the attack on his own Twitter and Facebook pages. We can see him edging closer and closer to his targets. Because the interview took place before 7 a.m., there were no bystanders around, and he is able to walk up unnoticed behind the cameraman with his gun drawn. The gun briefly disappears from view in the footage, but soon after it reappears, and he begins firing.
VO: “Alison made racist comments.” Flanagan had made posts on social media pages expressing personal resentment against the two victims.
He also sent a fax to ABC Television, in which he expressed anger at White discrimination against Blacks, citing as an example the attack on a Black church by a White supremacist in South Carolina.
CORRESPONDENT STAND-UP: This is the TV station where the suspect victims worked. At the entrance, visitors are laying flowers in memory of the two fallen journalists.
WDBJ STATION MANAGER: He did not get along with other people that he worked with, and some preferred not to work with him. We asked him to leave—and in fact, it was his anger that led to his dismissal.
VO: Alison Parker had been engaged to marry one of her colleagues at the station
ALISON PARKER’S BOYFRIEND: We had just moved in together, because we had desires to get married and buy a house together.
VO: The day of the incident, her fiancée says he woke up early to fix her breakfast and see her off on her assignment.
PARKER’S BOYFRIEND: The last thing she said to me was, “Goodnight, sweet boy.”
VO: This shocking incident, taking place during a live television report, has reverberated in American society.
Coverage of the historic event of the first meeting of President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro after the countries decided to resume diplomatic relations.
4.11.15 -- Panama City, Panama
VO: This morning Japan time, US President Obama and Cuban President Castro shook hands and exchanged words at the opening ceremony of the Summit of the Americas in Panama. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since the start of negotiations to reestablish diplomatic relations in January.
The Summit of the Americas is a gathering of heads of state from 35 North, Central, and South America. Until this year, Cuba had been prevented from attending due to objections by the United States. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon welcomed the recent thaw in his opening remarks.
UN SEC. GENERAL, BAN KI-MOON: The presence here today of President Raul Castro of Cuba embodies a goal long expressed by many in the region.
VO: Since the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro toppled a pro-US regime in 1959, the country has forged a path of opposition to the United States.
FIDEL CASTRO (in 1991): All of the guns are pointed at us. However, this is an honorable thing.
VO: 53 years after severing relations, the US announced it would move toward normalized relations with Cuba. President Raul Castro, who took control from his brother, Fidel, also welcomed this.
RAUL CASTRO: Cuba and the United States have our differences, but we must learn to live together in a civilized fashion.
VO: For the United States, this new policy track comes with the economic boon of entering the Cuban market. It also has the strategic benefit of further isolating Russia by bringing a former Soviet client state closer into its orbit.
Before leaving Washington, President Obama signaled that he would agree to remove Cuba from the list of State Sponsors of Terror, a longtime Cuban demand. Then on the 9th, the foreign ministers of both countries met for the first time since severing ties, agreeing to continue cooperating on unresolved issues.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The United States begins a new chapter in our relationship with Cuba. We hope it’ll create an environment that improves the lives of the Cuban people.
VO: Tomorrow, it is expected that leaders from the US and Cuba will meet formally for the first time in half a century.
CORRESPONDENT STAND-UP: Following a period of intense confrontation, the US and Cuba are working to normalize their relations. If tomorrow’s summit meeting proceeds as expected, it will be a historic moment adding further momentum to the two countries’ changed policies.
VO: In the Cuban capital of Havana, the streets are lined with 1950s-era American cars. These scenes will soon change dramatically.