TV killings prompt shock in Portsmouth, USA

A report on The Virginian-Pilot's website

A report on The Virginian-Pilot's website

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The shooting of two journalists during a live TV broadcast has prompted shock in Portsmouth’s biggest namesake city in the USA.

Residents of Portsmouth, Virginia, reacted with the same horror felt across America at the murder of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

In an editorial comment, the local newspaper, The Virginian-Pilot, criticised those who republished horrific footage posted on Facebook by the killer, the journalists’ former colleage Bryce Williams, who died after shooting himself as police closed in.

The paper carried tributes from friends of Mr Ward, who came from the Portsmouth area - about 200 miles east of the scene of the shootings in Moneta, Virginia.

In its comment, the newspaper made a point of not using the name of Bryce Williams.

It said: ‘The killer’s name won’t be mentioned in this space; it is widespread enough already in news reports.

‘That the coward planned his assault to take place Wednesday during a live broadcast, where a large audience could be hijacked and forced to witness the slaughter of unarmed innocents, amplified a terribly intimate offense.

‘His use of social media hours later — posting grievances against the victims, confessing to the murders and uploading his own video of the slayings — represented an unspeakable escalation of inhumanity and self-regard.

‘The murder and aftermath were akin to the barbarism practiced by ISIS and other terrorist groups.

‘To their credit, social media platforms disabled his accounts within minutes, although not before he managed to leverage the web to inflict more trauma on the victims, their families and friends, and the countless people who witnessed the graphic and terrifying final moments of two human beings.

‘The willingness of so many others to share his video within their own digital network is itself a sad commentary on a populace so desensitized to violence that circulating snuff film clips isn’t regarded as beyond the pale.

‘It is.’

Portsmouth, Virgina, has a population of just under 100,000 and, like its English counterpart, is a major naval base.

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