Journalist's fiancee saw him gunned down live on air by former colleague
Colleagues had bought a cake and balloons, her wedding dress had been delivered that morning, and news producer Melissa Ott was beginning her final day at WDBJ7.
She was sitting in the station's control room producing the morning news as her fiance, Adam Ward, filmed reporter Alison Parker at around 6.45am. They were covering a story about local lake revitalisation.
Ott and Ward (27) had been due to leave Virginia for Charlotte, North Carolina.
As she wrote later that day on Facebook, Ott was meant to be "starting new adventures with my fiance, new jobs, a new city. Getting married, having a family, buying a home".
Instead, she said: "That's now taken. I'm not okay."
With the rest of the WDBJ7 crew and 40,000 viewers, Ott watched as former colleague, Vester Lee Flanagan II walked up to Ward and Parker (24) and shot them dead.
Speaking on air on Wednesday evening, Jeff Marks, WDBJ7 general manager, said those in the control room knew that "something terrible had happened".
The station cut back to Kimberley McBroom, the show's anchor. "I thought maybe a car backfired," McBroom said. "I thought maybe there were shots in the background. The county is kind of rural.
"We were busy trying to keep [Ott] calm and hopeful," said McBroom.
"That was a very hard thing to do."
When news filtered through confirming the deaths of Ward and Parker, Ott was "devastated", said Marks.
Flanagan, who went by the professional name Bryce Williams, had also filmed as he approached Ward and Parker and fired at close range, before posting the videos on social media. After escaping, he sent a rambling 23-page fax to ABC News referring to a "race war" and describing himself as a "human powder keg… waiting to go BOOM!".
Following a police chase, Flanagan died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ott's Facebook page was filled with pictures of her and Ward, including his marriage proposal to her in Washington DC
In a tribute to Ward on the website, Ott wrote: "I will never find a man so happy, selfless, protective, funny, or charming like you. You were the one. You understood me. My soulmate."