CRIME

Slain WDBJ Reporter's Boyfriend: 'We Wanted To Get Married'

"She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back."

The boyfriend of Alison Parker, one of two WDBJ journalists gunned down during a live broadcast, shared his grief on Twitter just hours after the fatal shooting Wednesday.

Chris Hurst, who covered mental health and public safety for the same Roanoke, Virginia, station revealed that he and Parker, 24, had dated for nine months and had planned to marry. 

"It was the best nine months of our lives," Hurst wrote of the morning reporter. "We wanted to get married... She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother."

Cameraman Adam Ward, 27, who also died in the shooting, was engaged to Melissa Ott, a producer for the station's morning show.

Both Parker and Ward grew up in the station's viewing area and attended college in Virginia, according to WDBJ. 

"I can’t tell you how much they were loved," WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks said in a broadcast following the shooting. "Our hearts are broken."

"They were special people. They’d brighten up a room every morning," anchor Kimberly McBroom added.

A memorial to the slain journalists had appeared outside the station by Wednesday afternoon. 

Parker and Ward died at the Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virginia, while they were reporting on local tourism. The suspected gunman, Vester Lee Flanagan, who went by the name Bryce Williams when he was on the air at WDBJ, walked up to the journalists and opened fire as they were conducting during a live interview. Flanagan fled the scene and later shot himself during a highway pursuit with Virginia State Police. He died Wednesday afternoon. 

Parker's father, Andy, told The Washington Post that he feared the worst when he learned of the shooting, because his daughter didn't call to say she was OK.

"Initially, we had some hope, but I knew in my heart of hearts," Andy Parker said. "My grief is unbearable ... Is this real? Am I going to wake up? I am crying my eyes out. I don’t know if there’s anybody in this world or another father who could be more proud of their daughter." 

In chilling live footage from the start of the incident, Parker screamed and ran as the sound of gunfire began before the camera feed was cut off.

This post has been updated with quotes from Andy Parker and details about Flanagan.

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