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Wednesday 7 December 2016

TV station holds moment of silence for slain workmates

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TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, centre, gets a hug from visiting anchor Steve Grant, left, as meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner reflects after their early morning newscast at the station. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, centre, gets a hug from visiting anchor Steve Grant, left, as meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner reflects after their early morning newscast at the station. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, second from right, and meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, are joined by visiting anchor Steve Grant, second from left, and Dr. Thomas Milam, of the Carilion Clinic, as they observe a moment of silence during the early morning newscast at the station, in Roanoke, Virginia. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview in Virginia (WDBJ-TV/AP)
The scene of the shooting.

One day after the on-air killings of a reporter and a cameraman shocked millions across the world, the grieving staff at WDBJ-TV came together for an emotional broadcast of its Mornin' show.

At 6:45am - the time of the shooting dead of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward - the station observed a moment of silence, showing the victim's photos on the screens.

The fatal shooting happened during a live TV interview as tens of thousands of viewers watched. Within hours, the carefully scripted carnage carried out by a disgruntled former colleague spread to millions of viewers gripped by what had transformed into a social media storm.

Shortly after the shooting, social media posts referencing the slain TV pair surfaced on an account under an on-air pseudonym used by the gunman - culminating with a first-person video of the ambush filmed by the shooter.

Anchor Kim McBroom was on the anchor desk during Wednesday's shooting and tried to reassure viewers immediately after the attack was broadcast.

Yesterday morning she joined hands with weatherman Leo Hirsbrunner and fellow anchor Steve Grant, who came in from sister station KYTV in Springfield, Missouri.

"Joining hands here on the desk. It's the only way to do it," she said just before the moment of silence.

During his forecast yesterday, Hirsbrunner's voice trembled as he recalled how Ward would check in with him every morning about the weather before going out on assignment.

"I don't even know how to do weather on a day like this," he said. McBroom told him: "Good job, partner. We're going to get through this together."

Criminal

The morning broadcast included a series of news pieces on the shooting. One looked at the criminal investigation of gunman Vester Lee Flanagan II, the former WDBJ-TV reporter known to viewers by his on-air name Bryce Williams. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after the shooting.

His family released a statement through a representative, expressing condolences for the victims' families and asking for privacy: "Words cannot express the hurt that we feel," it read in part.

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