Reporter and cameraman remembered by colleagues, family

The news became personal for a television station in Virginia Wednesday morning when a reporter and cameraman Ward were fatally shot during a live broadcast, forcing co-workers to balance the stunning tragedy with professionalism.

Greeting the morning anchor with a bright smile, 24-year-old news reporter Alison Parker started her live report with an interview on tourism for the morning newscast Wednesday.

Her friend and colleague, photographer Adam Ward, 27, was behind the camera. They were a team who worked closely together and colleagues said the young journalists were rising stars at WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia.

Then, as viewers watched on live television, the gunfire began.

A photo taken of co-workers in the WDBJ newsroom, show the shock as they watched the television screens.

Adam Ward's last video as he fell, caught a fleeting image of the shooter's face, former co-worker Vester Lee Flanagan.

The WDBJ general manager Jeffrey Marks later delivered the news on air.

"Alison and Adam, died this morning shortly after 6:45 when shots rang out," Marks said in a low voice, sitting next to the anchors on the news set.

Shock and grief and tears slowly have emerged through online tweets from the station and those who loved the victims most.

WDBJ wrote "We love you, Alison and Adam."

Alison Parker was a former intern at the station who became a bright spot in the newsroom. Her coworkers called her hard-working, and ambitious with dreams of become a national correspondent. 

She graduated from James Madison University in three and a half years. Her boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, says they had been dating nine months and moved in together, with plans to get married.

"We had our six month anniversary. She made a scrapbook for me and put in all of the pictures that we spent together for the first six months," Hurst said.

Hurst said Alison's last text to him Wednesday morning said, "Sleep well sweet boy."

In a statement to the Washington Post, Alison's father said his grief was unbearable, "Not hearing her voice again crushes my soul."

Adam Ward was a 27-year-old photographer who loved sports. He played football in high school and was a graduate of Virginia Tech. Coworkers described him as happy-go-lucky.

He'd found the love of his life in Melissa Ott, a producer at the station. He planned to follow her to her new job in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was her last day producing the morning show Wednesday. 

She was in the control room watching as her fiance fell.

The woman being interviewed, chamber of commerce official Vicki Gardner was shot in the back. She went through surgery and was in stable condition Wednesday, the only survivor.

Through all of the pain and shock of losing Alison and Adam, their colleagues continued doing their jobs Wednesday. They stayed on air, reporting the news as police looked for the gunman and paying tribute to their co-workers.

Hurst and Alison's father Andy Parker appeared on the Fox program "The Kelly File" Wednesday. They appeared to be in shock, and said they were speaking out about her story because that's what Alison would have wanted them to do. 

They said her alma mater James Madison University is opening a scholarship fund in her name.

The shooting touched many strangers, who have brought flowers and candles and messages of support to the station.

It is a tragedy that has left many wondering how so much life, love and promise can vanish so quickly.