The highly politicized issue of gun control has been brought to the forefront once again after the deadly shooting of two TV journalists in Virginia. Now 2016 Democratic front-runner quickly calling for action on gun violence. Wednesday Politico reports that Hillary Clinton took to Twitter hours after the shooting saying, “we cannot wait any longer” to address gun violence. She added that she was “heartbroken and angry” over the tragedy that resulted in the deaths of 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward, of Roanoke-based WDBJ.
Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed Wednesday morning during a live broadcast at a shopping center. A former employee of the TV station, Vester Lee Flanagan, is the alleged gunman. It is also believed Flanagan used social media to show video of the shooting. While being pursued by police on the highway, Flanagan reportedly shot himself and died Wednesday afternoon.
Making gun control a theme in her campaign, Clinton has repeatedly called on lawmakers to take on the gun lobby at events across the country. Addressing the violence early Wednesday morning, Democratic candidate Martin O’Malley tweeted that the murders “senseless” and “awful.”
There has been way too much violence in our country and far, far too much of it is gun related violence. My heart goes out now to all of the families that have been affected by this horrible, horrible tragedy,” O’Malley said. “Too much violence, too many deaths from guns in our country, and we need to do better as a nation.
According to Breitbart, at the Wednesday White House briefing press secretary Josh Earnest pulled the sympathy card out using the murders of Parker and Ward to call for “common sense” gun control Earnest said, “The precise details of that incident continue to be under investigation. But as you’ve heard me say in the past: This is another example of gun violence that has becoming all-too-common in communities large and small. And while there is no piece of legislation that can end all violence in this country, there are some common sense things that only Congress can do that we know will have a tangible impact on reducing gun violence in this country. And Congress could take those steps in a way that will not infringe on the Constitutional rights of law-abiding Americans. And the president has long advocated Congress taking those steps, and the president continues to feel they should do so.”
Shot in the head herself by gunman Jared Lee Loughner at a rally in Tuscon in 2011, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords released a statement on her Facebook page addressing the tragedy in Virginia, reports Daily Mail. “Captain Mark Kelly and I are horrified to learn that two young journalists were murdered this morning doing the jobs they loved. While we don’t yet know all the details of what happened this morning, we know than an attack like this on journalists is an affront to the values we share,” read the message.
Hours after the shooting, a person claiming to have filmed it, posted video online that appeared to be from the shooter’s vantage point. The videos were posted to a Twitter account and on Facebook by a man identifying himself as Bryce Williams, That was Flanagan’s on-air name. The videos were removed shortly afterward. One video clearly showed a handgun as the person filming approached the woman reporter.
The person claiming to be Williams also posted, ‘I filmed the shooting see Facebook’ as well as saying Parker had ‘made racist comments.’ Flanagan had sued another station where he worked in Florida, alleging he had been discriminated against because he was black. Flanagan said he was called a ‘monkey’ by a producer in a lawsuit filed in federal court against a Tallahassee station, WTWC, in 2000. He also said a supervisor at the station called black people lazy. The Florida case was settled and dismissed the next year, court records show.
ABC News reported on its website it received a 23-page fax from someone claiming to be Bryce Williams some time between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. The network turned the fax over to authorities, it said, without giving details on its contents.
WDBJ described the two dead journalists as an ambitious reporter-and-cameraman team who often produced light and breezy feature stories for the morning program. According to his social media sites, Flanagan attended San Francisco State University. A university spokesman said he graduated in 1995 with a degree in radio and television.