tv ABC World News With David Muir ABC August 26, 2015 6:30pm-7:01pm EDT
. tonight, deadly shooting targeted on tv. a young reporter and her cameraman gunned down. the shooter, a former co-worker stalked them from behind, opened fire on live tv and taped it all himself. the gunman's motive, range, race. we have the document he sent before the shooting. team coverage tonight. donald trump's heated exchange kicking out a top journalist, grilling him about his immigration plan. on the stand, the former student accused of raping a girl at an elite prep school makes his case. did he convince the jury. and ten auto makers face a major lawsuit. the new device used by millions of americans, why some say it may be putting lives at risk.
good evening. i'm george stephanopoulos in for david tonight. we want to get right to that deadly shooting in virginia. a gunman targeting two young journalists with cameras rolling, theirs and his. two journalists killed, another victim expect to survive. the gunman killed himself after a police chase. we'll never know why he set out not just to murder but to broadcast the crime on live tv and by filming it himself for social media. something we wrestled with today, whether to grant the gunman his last wish by playing his video. we will not. our team coverage starts with jim avila. >> reporter: a live tv interview on local tourism fatally interpreted. no warnings, just bullets followed by screams. after the victim's fall, the shooter's image briefly captured on camera before he flees.
the anchor back in the studio is stunned. >> i heard a pow, pow, pow and it did not register that it was gunshots. it probably should have but she's doing a little feature at the at the lake. >> reporter: in the control room, the news photographer's fiance, a producer, watching it unfold. >> our morning crew was live this morning at smith mountain lake when shots were fired around 6:45. our general manager and wdbj 7 vice-president jeff marks is here. >> reporter: then this solemn announcement. >> alison and adam died this morning shortly after 6:45 when the shots rang out. >> reporter: the two dead, 24-year-old alison parker, the reporter conducting the interview, and the man behind the camera, 27-year-old adam ward. the woman interviewed, vicki gardener, shot in the back and rushed to the hospital. the shooter on the loose. the police chasing the suspect.
local schools on lockdown. then just past 10:00 a.m., the virginia governor takes to the air waves with this stunning announcement. >> we know who the suspect is. we believe it's a disgruntled employee from the tv station. >> reporter: then another surprise. this on social media. a person going by bryce williams tweeting, i filmed the shooting. see facebook. the same account also mentioning the victims by name, complaining about their treatment of him at work, that facebook account now deleted. >> vester flanagan, wtoc news. >> reporter: bryce williams, the professional name for vester lee flanagan. until two years ago, an on-air reporter at this station. >> live in henry county, bryce williams. >> reporter: management says he was fired after being warned he needed medical attention. minutes after those troubling tweets, virginia state police spotting the suspect's rental car. the suspect refusing to stop,
instead, running the vehicle off the road and crashing. a trooper approaches the car. >> she found flanagan suffering from a self-inflekicted gunshot wound. he was flown from the scene to a hospital where he died at approximately 1:30 p.m. today. >> reporter: tonight tributes pouring in for the reporter and the photographer who died at the scene. >> when i walk around wherever i'm at, alison or adam, it was a high point of my day because they always made me smile. >> reporter: tonight the surviving victim, vicki gardener, is in stable condition. this live attack on tv has had its effect on the audience, too, flowers for the victims arrives at the station all afternoon, george? >> we are learning chilling details about the gunman. he sent a long manifesto to our newsroom and called after the attack. now these images coming in late today, a bomb squad at the suspect's apartment. abc's pierre thomas has what we're learning about the killer and his motives.
>> reporter: vester flanagan was known on air as local tv reporter bryce williams. here he is in one of his stories holding a gun, a man slowly descending toward madness. >> at some point in his life it would appear things were spiraling out of control. >> reporter: the former tv reporter targeted the television crew when they were both vulnerable, a live report. even used his skills to film the murders and to post them on social media. >> what is somewhat unique, you have an individual, a journalst by trade who not only carried out a workplace attack but then used the tools of his trade to communicate about that attack. >> reporter: a man identifying himself as flanagan faxed what he called a suicide note to abc news news at 8:26 this morning. nearly two hours after the shooting it shows a deeply angry man laying out his grievances. why did i do it? the church shooting in charleston was the tipping point. but my anger had been building steadily. i had been a human powder keg
for a while waiting to go boom. his list of grievances was long. he noted that he had been fired from the station of the television crew. he complained the cameraman complained about him to management, that he was a victim of racism and sexual harassment. he suggested he was mistreated because he was a gay black man. >> eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the floor, we dismissed him. he did not take that well. >> reporter: in the suicide note, flanagan expresses admiration for mass murders, specifically the columbine killers and the virginia tech shooter, whom he said he personally knew. in one of his final callous gestures, a plan claiming to be flanagan called abc news in new york around 10:00 a.m. and said he shot two people. he hung up and we contacted the authorities. george, this chilling detail. we spoke to a former roommate of the 41-year-old flanagan. he said at 7:00 this morning,
flanagan sent him a text saying, quote, i've done something so bad, i don't want to tell you because it's morbid. george? >> so much sickness there. pierre, thanks very much. tonight tributes are pouring in for the two victims. reporter alison parker, cameraman adam ward, two young journalists starting out on their careers and their lives. >> reporter: this station shocked tonight. alison parker and adam ward, the early morning team reporting together every day for wdbj. >> we're putting the final touches on our special report. >> reporter: in the moments after today's shooting, parker's boyfriend sending a series of tweets revealing they just moved in together. he describes her as the most radiant woman i ever met. he says they want to get married. parker's family tonight saying she was their bright shining light and it was cruelly
stwished. adam ward was engaged to the morning producer. the two were planning their wedding. alison and adam began their careers as interns, forming a strong bond both on and off camera. >> we are thinking of their families tonight. we're going to move on now to the race for the white house and that face-off between donald trump and jorge ramos. he's been called the latino walter cronkite. ramos repeatedly tries to question trump, then trump motions to his security team and ramos is taken out. the fallout from moment growing tonight. abc's tom llamas was in the room. >> reporter: from the white house to the campaign trail, donald trump facing new heat tonight. >> okay. who is next? >> reporter: the tension starting when jorge ramos got up and challenged trump on immigration. ramos, an anchor for univision and our sister network, fusion. >> sit down. >> i have the right to ask a
question. >> no, you don't. you haven't been called. >> i have the right. >> go back to univision. >> reporter: then, trump looks over at his staff, a bodyguard walks over and ushers ramos -- >> reporter: outside, watch what happens next. a man wearing a suit and a trump sticker confronts ramos. >> get out of my country. get out. >> i'm a u.s. citizen, too. >> well, whatever. >> reporter: the campaign says the man is not a staffer nor a volunteer. eventually, ramos is allowed back in. >> good to have you back. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: the two sparring over the billionaire's planned wall along the border. >> how are you going to build up a 1,900-mile wall? >> very easy. i'm a builder. >> reporter: ramos talking to george this morning. >> what i would expect is that i can ask a question as a journalist. >> reporter: in florida today, jeb bush saying "we have to treat all journalists with dignity and respect." and from the white house press secretary, some unsolicited advice for trump. >> i'm not sure that it's a successful media strategy to physically remove reporters who are asking tough questions. >> reporter: george, donald
trump describing ramos as ranting and raving like a madman. trump says he has nothing to apologize for and that he handled the exchange correctly. george? >> another note on politics. hillary clinton held a press conference today where she addressed a possible challenge from vice-president biden for the first time, saying that biden has faced more terrible events than most can contemplate, the loss of his wife, first daughter and his son. biden intended to discuss the iran nuclear deal. he said he's still undecided, talking it over his family and whether or not he has the, quote, emotional fuel to run. we move to that dramatic showdown in new hampshire, the former student of st. paul's charged with raping a fellow classmate. you can see his transformation over the years. today he took the stand.
and what he said that prompted his accuser to flee the courtroom. abc's gio benitez was there. >> reporter: a 19-year-old taking the stand today, his 16-year-old victim watching in the front row. their encounter, a so-called senior salute where a graduating sr. at their elite prep school spends time with a younger student. >> why did you send her a senior salute on the eve of your leaving the school? >> i wanted to ask her out. >> did you want to get together with her? >> yeah. >> reporter: saying he was fond of his accuser, he described the night they went up to that empty room in the science building. >> she giggled, i giggled. we kissed like a little bit. i thought she was having a great time. >> reporter: he says the situation grew more intimate. his attorney asking over and over again if she ever objected. >> did she say anything? >> no. >> did she do anything? >> no, she didn't. >> reporter: he says they rolled around on a blanket, spoke to
each other in french. >> that all seemed as if it were leading up to having sex. >> reporter: but la brie said he suddenly had a change of heart. >> i thought to myself maybe we shouldn't do this. it hadn't been my intention going into the night to have sex. >> reporter: but in cross-examination the prosecutor unconvinced. >> you want all of these people here to believe that after all that time spent thinking about her and having foreplay, that you just stopped? >> um, i didn't just stop. we kissed some more afterwards, but i didn't have sex with her. >> reporter: la brie admitted bragging to friends that he did have sex with the girl, saying in one facebook message, he used every trick in the book. >> it was a joke but today it's a lie, right? >> um, yes, it is a lie. i wanted to boast to my friends afterwards. >> reporter: george, at one point the alleged victim walked out of the courtroom clearly upset. tonight the defense attorney says he's pleased that the jury got to see the real owen la bri,
george. >> thanks. now to that extreme weather we're tracking. tropical storm erika, you can see it moving through the atlantic, puerto rico in its path, florida could get hit. out west, arizona hit by winds. ginger zee here with the forecast. >> the monsoon forecast looking a lot better the next couple of days. less dust storms down in the southwest. let's take you straight to tropical storm erika, 45 miles per hour winds moving west at 17 miles per hour into some really unfavorable conditions. wind sheer, terrible variable when it comes to tropical storm development. tropical storm warning to puerto rico thursday into friday. the timing there much needed rain. yes, they've been in a drought. three to five inches going to fall through the start of the weekend. it sustains itself as a tropical storm but i want you to pay close attention to that cone of
uncertainty. 2400 miles, a lot of models are starting to take it more to the atlantic. still something to watch as we get towards the end of the weekend. >> ginger, thanks very much. and tonight the faa is investigating a passenger jet scare last week. an allegiant arms flight from vegas speeding down the runway, then the nose suddenly pulls up. quick action from the pilot prevented disaster but this close call is raising new questions about safety in the air. >> reporter: allegiant air flight 436 was on its way from las vegas to peoria, illinois when the pilots reported a mechanical failure so severe, they were fighting against the plane's controls and had to abruptly abort their takeoff. according to the airline, "it was discovered that the left elevator boost actuator had become disconnected." that's the part of the plane helps the aircraft climb and descend. translation, the md-83's nose reportedly started rising off the ground, before the plane was going fast enough to fly, and despite the crew's attempts to
bring the nose back down. so they abruptly aborted takeoff at 138 miles per hour in order to keep the jet on the ground and under control. >> this was not a minor incident. this was an airplane that the crew didn't want it to do and could have resulted in a crash. >> reporter: tonight allegiant air says it has conducted a fleed-wide inspection and says all of its planes are safe. the faa is investigating. from wall street tonight, some welcome news. after a week of whiplash, the dow closing up nearly 620 points, the best day since 2011, but experts are warning that the roller coaster ride could very well continue. much more ahead tonight. ten auto makers face a major lawsuit. the new device to make driving easier for millions of americans. why some are saying it's putting lives at risk. and the troubled tv son.
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millions of us drive cars with keyless ig nigsz, and ten of the world's largest auto makers are facing a major lawsuit tonight claiming those ignitions are to blame for more than a dozen carbon monoxide death. here's abc's ryan owens. >> reporter: starting your car without having to grab your keys. a modern convenience that a new lawsuit alleges can also kill. the lawsuit filed this morning in california says 13 deaths and numerous serious injuries have been caused from carbon monoxide poisoning. drivers who took their keyless fob but left their car running, the garage filling with toxic fumes. mary rivera is not part of this suit, but says she nearly died after leaving her car running. >> the ignition didn't turn off. i thought i turned it off, but apparently i didn't. >> reporter: today's lawsuit names ten of the biggest car companies. some of their cars do have warning lights and tones so you know the car is long but
consumer advocates have long said those warnings should be standardized. further, they say all cars should have emergency shutoff. >> you get out of the car and you leave your interior lights on, you go away for 15 seconds, it turns off. why can't you just turn the engine off and avoid these needless deaths? >> reporter: ford tells abc news the keyless system is safe and reliable and volk wagon said safety is a priority. when we come back, josh duggar's big decision after being caught in two scandals. and trapped behind the wheel. how much time do you spend stuck in traffic? when something works, people stick with it. more people stick with
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finally tonight on this difficult day, a happy ending. after a white knuckle ride, the police chief dialing 911 while rushing his wife to the hospital, then delivering their baby who was done waiting. here's abc's clayton sandell. >> reporter: police and fire dispatcher kelly klein -- >> the head is coming out. >> head is coming out? >> yep. >> reporter: -- had never taken a call like this. a man dialing 911 near vale, colorado at 2:00 a.m. tuesday, stuck on the side of the highway with his wife in full labor. >> we're not going to make it to the hospital. my wife is protect. >> reporter: but this about-to-be new dad, joey staufer, also happens to be eagle, colorado's police chief. >> it went from zero to 60 just like that. >> i'm going to talk you through >> okay, we have a baby. >> is it out? >> yep. >> reporter: klein, who wants to be a firefighter got a thank you and this special stork pin. >> the feeling you get after being able to help somebody out
in a situation like that, it's really undescribable. >> reporter: tonight this trio doing just fine. clayton sandell, abc news, vale, colorado. >> love that picture. that is all for us tonight. thank for watching. we'll have more on the journalists killed in virginia tonight on "nightline" and of course on "good morning america." i'll see you then.
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