Instant Video Adds to Horror of On-Air Murders of Two in Virginia
NEWS ANALYSIS: Body cam, social networks played a major role in both recording the brutal murders of two people and then helping law enforcement track and catch the killer.The shocking on-air shooting of two young journalists, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, from a Roanoke, Va., television station Aug. 26 was a scenario that could only happen in the 21st century. A disturbed man gets and loads a weapon, attaches a cloud-service video camera (like a GoPro model or similar device) to record his actions, goes to the location, shoots two people at point blank range, then flees. But not before tweeting his actions and uploading the video to two of the most popular social networks—Twitter and Facebook. Ironically, it was technology—the live television camera being held by one of his victims—that enabled law enforcement to quickly identify the attacker and track him down within hours after the deadly assault. Thankfully, both Twitter and Facebook moved quickly to remove the tweets and video postings of the killer identified as 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan. They are to be commended; murderers should not be allowed to leave their legacy documents in the public domain to incite anybody else who might be on the edge.
Law enforcement used Google maps, facial recognition based on the television still photo to identify him, and a check of the killer's background using common Internet resources.