RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe connected the shooting deaths of two journalists Wednesday morning in his state to easy access to guns.
“There are too many guns in the hands of people that shouldn’t have guns,” McAuliffe said on WTOP. “There is too much gun violence in America.”
Vester Flanagan, a former WDBJ-TV reporter who was sought in connection with the shooting that killed reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, shot himself shortly after the incident on Interstate 66, officials told CNN, and later died.
Both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates tweeted their sympathies to the station, with some calling for greater gun control in the wake of the shooting. Other Democrats including the White House, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and other lawmakers addressed gun laws in their comments on the shooting.
“The precise details of that incident continue to be under investigation, but as you’ve heard me say in the past — this is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities large and small across the U.S.,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “And while there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country — there are some common sense things that only Congress can do that we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country. ”
McAuliffe, who said stronger background checks should be a higher priority, told journalists following the shooting that the idea that people could be killed doing their jobs is unimaginable.
“I still find it unimaginable that poor innocent victims lives can be taken doing their job, standing talking about economic development and bringing folks to Smith Mountain Lake when this tragedy occurred,” he said. “It just breaks your heart and you think of the families and so many friends and coworkers who were impacted by what happened today.”