Boyfriend of reporter fatally shot on live TV runs for office in her honor

Published: Monday, May 01, 2017 @ 2:04 PM

TV reporter Alison Parker, on the left, and her cameraman were shot and killed on live TV in August of 2015 while conducting an interview. Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, also pictured above on right, was an anchor at the same station where she worked. 
Chris Hurst/AP
TV reporter Alison Parker, on the left, and her cameraman were shot and killed on live TV in August of 2015 while conducting an interview. Parker’s boyfriend, Chris Hurst, also pictured above on right, was an anchor at the same station where she worked. (Chris Hurst/AP)

The tipping point for Chris Hurst came last fall while reporting on a shooting at a rail car factory. When the camera was turned off, he wept.

Just more than a year earlier, the 29-year-old’s reporter girlfriend was gunned down while conducting an interview on live TV. Now, Hurst was using the same truck that Alison Parker had used the last day of her life to report live from the scene of another shooting.

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Hurst realized he needed a drastic life change.

The former TV anchor is now running for political office, challenging a National Rifle Association-backed candidate for a competitive Virginia state House seat in a firearm friendly part of the state. Hurst sees it as a way to honor the memory of the woman he thought he'd marry and to give back to the community that helped him through his darkest days.

"When we understand that life is fragile, does that mean we give up and say life ain't worth it? No," Hurst said at a local Democratic committee meeting in March. "That's when we say it is worth it, and we do what we can when we're here to try to help another person."

>> Related: Survivor of live TV shooting speaks out: ‘I played dead’

Hurst was living with Parker when she and cameraman Adam Ward were fatally shot while reporting for WDBJ-TV in August 2015. The gunman, Vester Flanagan, posted video of the attack online and killed himself hours later.

After the shooting, Hurst became the public face of the grieving Roanoke station, bringing him national attention and a large social media following. That helped him become one of the top House candidate fundraisers last reporting period.

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Rapper Killer Mike defends gun ownership in NRA video

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 7:57 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for KROQ)
Emma McIntyre
File photo. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for KROQ)(Emma McIntyre)

Killer Mike has been outspoken about several social issues, including equality, racism and police brutality. Now he’s speaking up about gun ownership.

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In a recent NRATV interview, the Atlanta rapper defended the Second Amendment and challenged anti-gun protesters amid March for Our Lives, the nationwide demonstrations for stricter gun laws.

“You’re not woke! You can’t continue to be the lackey,” he told NRATV host Colion Noir. “You’re a lackey of the progressive movement, because you’ve never disagreed with the people who tell you what to do.”

He also criticized National Walkout Day, where thousands of students across the country walked out of their classrooms as a protest against gun violence following the Parkland High shooting in Florida.

“I told my kids on the school walkout: ‘I love you. If you walk out that school, walk out my house,’” the artist said. “We are a gun-owning family. We are a family where my sister farms. We are a family where we'll fish, we'll hunt. But we are not a family that jumps on every single thing an ally of ours does because some stuff we just don't agree with.”

He also discussed what he teaches his children about gun control.

“I'm very pro-Second Amendment, this is why,” he said. “And before you say, ‘What about the children,’ my daughter goes to Savannah State University. There was also a shooting on that campus. Talked to my wife and daughter after that, the decision was we're gonna go to Savannah, she's gonna get a gun and train more.”

Take a look at the clip below.

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Chinese food delivery man fights off robbers, police say

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 6:47 PM

File photo.  (Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo Illustration by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A Chinese food delivery man fought off a gun-wielding attacker who tried to rob him on Monday in an apartment building’s stairway landing, according to police. 

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Police are still searching for the suspects who placed a fake $31.85 order from Peking Kitchen to lure the deliverer to the building, according to the New York Daily News

“I was about to go downstairs and he pointed the gun at me, and he said, ‘Give us the money. I’m going to shoot you,’” deliveryman Saikou Tambajang, 56, told the Daily News. “He pointed the gun at my head. I threw a forearm into him so he wouldn’t shoot me.”

Tambajang, who makes deliveries to send money home to his family in Gambia, fought off the attackers, who fled without food or money. 

“I didn’t know what to do,” Tambajang told the Daily News. “It was the only way I could defend myself. Sometimes if you give them the money they shoot you anyway.”

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Local students, families take part in D.C. march against gun violence

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:34 PM
Updated: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 3:34 PM

Students from Centerville High School and a family from Yellow Springs attended the March for our Lives rally in D.C.

Stephanie Cooper, 18, of Yellow Springs still remembers the first school shooting she ever heard about.

It was at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Twenty–six people died. Twenty of them were first–graders.

It was 2012. She was in middle school.

“To me it seems like it started happening more frequently after that,” Cooper said.

Lili Eiswas, a senior from Centerville, was at the D.C. march against gun violence on Saturday.

On Saturday, she and hundreds of thousands of fellow students descended on Washington, D.C. in hopes of reversing that trend, as a march organized by the students of Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, packed D.C. streets with protesters of all ages — but dominated by the young.

“If you listen real close you can hear the people in power shaking,” said David Hogg, a student at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Fla., who took video as he and his fellow students hid from the gunman who opened fire on the school last month, killing 17. “Inaction is no longer safe.”

“Fight for your lives,” said fellow student Emma Gonzalez, who stood silent for much of her time on the stage to depict the just over six minutes the shooter killed 17 in her high school. “Before it’s someone else’s job.”

The march was organized by Hogg and other students from Marjory Stoneman High School. But speakers — all young — represented students from Chicago, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. The oldest speaker was 19; the youngest, 11. Only the entertainment — which included Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson and Lin–Manuel Miranda — were older.

Preliminary estimates put the crowd at about 500,000 people, making it the largest gathering to descend on Washington, D.C., since the January 2017 women’s march, which drew roughly the same number.

Megan Rose, a senior at Centerville High School, went to the march in D.C. Saturday. Says a flat tire on the bus couldn't keep her away.

While that march was billed as the women’s march, however, speakers at that march also talked about gay rights, Muslim rights and featured an amalgamation of causes. Saturday’s protest, however, was clearly and acutely focused on one issue: Stopping the mass shootings that have occurred around the nation, and ousting lawmakers who were unwilling to help stop those shootings by passing gun control legislation. But the protesters themselves didn’t look like a well-heeled special interest group; instead, it appeared as if a massive high school tour bus had suddenly dropped off thousands of passengers on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

“I am here to represent the African–American girls whose stories don’t make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don’t lead on the evening news,” said Naomi Wadler, 11, of Alexandria, Va., who organized a walk–out and die–in on February 14 at her elementary school. “I represent African-American women who are victims of gun violence who are simply statistics instead of vibrant, beautiful girls who are full of potential.”

Wall–to–wall people crushed against one another inside police barricades, while outside, the streets were thick with young students, the elderly and parents pushing strollers. Similar rallies occurred in Columbus, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York and Parkland, Florida, as well as in other cities. Crowds also gathered in London, England; Frankfurt, Germany; and Sydney, Australia.

Among those in the crowd were Zach Dudzik, 19, an Ohio State freshman from Lakewood, Ohio, who decided to go after hearing the Parkland students characterized as “crisis actors.” He said he was outraged that people would not believe that students impacted by the issue could organize. “We deserve to have a voice and an impact on issues,” he said.

He said it feels like the shootings occur every week. “It’s really easy to be desensitized to it,” he said. “The fact that it happens so much shouldn’t make it less. It makes it worse.”

He traveled with Abi Norman, 19, an OSU sophomore also from Lakewood. She is studying to be a music teacher.

“I don’t want a gun,” she said. “I don’t want my coworkers to have guns.”

She said she has always felt safe at school, but the burden of the spate of mass shootings has taken a toll all the same.

“Every time I got to a movie theater, I’m checking every face. I’m always trying to be aware,” she said. “I don’t think that’s the way it should be.”

Megan Rose, 18, a senior at Centerville High School, said she participated in a walkout a couple of weeks ago.

“I was like, well what else can I do as a student?” she said. “And I thought why not come to Washington, D.C.”

Counter-protesters were present but rare. Two men standing in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue held signs. “When seconds count, police are minutes away,” one said. “I carry on campus,” the other sign read. “Teachers should too.”

“I respect you, but I think you’re wrong,” said a man as he walked by.

Among those navigating the crowd was Kris Knight of Gahanna, who brought his son Owen.

“It felt like it was the right time to get involved,” Knight said.

He brought his nine–year–old son so “he could see what young people were capable of doing when they really believed in something.”

“It was something he wanted to do,” he said. “It was something he felt strongly about.”

Elaine Zamonski of Kettering brought her daughters Mira, 8, Katherine, 11, Veronica, 14 and Veronica’s friend Alice, 14.

“I brought them because I wanted them to see that people’s voices have power,” she said. “In a conservative district like Kettering, they sometimes feel lonely in their views and rallies are inspiring.”

Before coming to the March for our Lives in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, Barbara Carr of Buffalo, N.Y., sat down with a pink apron and painstakingly wrote out the names of every person who had died in a school shooting since the Columbine shootings in 1999.

Stephanie Cooper, 18, her mother Christina, father Robert and brother Peter, 15, at the march for our lives in Washington. They are from yellow springs(Washington Bureau)

A Sharpie pressed to the fabric, she wrote down more than 300 names. She wore those names on her back. She had to do her research, she said, in order to feel that she deserved to be there.

“It was hard,” she said, her eyes welling up as throngs of people crushed around her on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. “It was hard.”

Cooper, meanwhile, said she and her mother have had conversations. If there’s a mass shooting, her mother warns her, play dead if she can’t run.

“She gets really worried every time one happens,” she said, of the school shootings that have become a routine occurrence in her childhood.

On Saturday, she hoped those worries would translate to action.

“I just hope they realize that we’re the ones who are going to be voting them in the next couple of years,” she said of lawmakers. “So if they want to stay in power, they have to do what we ask them to do.”

(Jack Torry, Washington bureau chief, contributed to this report.)

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Naomi Wadler, age 11, delivers powerful message at March for Our Lives rally

Published: Saturday, March 24, 2018 @ 2:33 PM

VIDEO: Scenes from March for Our Lives Rallies

An 11-year-old girl delivered a powerful message about gun violence at the March for Our Lives rally Saturday in the nation's capital.

Naomi Wadler, a fifth-grader at George Mason Elementary School in Alexandria, Virginia, focused her speech on the gun violence that African-American women face, and how often their stories go untold.

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"I am here today to acknowledge and represent the African-American girls whose stories don't make the front page of every national newspaper, whose stories don't lead the evening news," Wadler told the crowd.

"For far too long these names, these black girls and women have been just numbers. I'm here to say 'never again' for those girls, too," Wadler said.

Wadler rejected the notion that she was too young to understand the issue. "People have said that I am too young to have these thoughts on my own. People have said that I am a tool of some nameless adult. It's not true," Wadler said.

"We know life isn't equal for everyone and we know what is right and wrong," Wadler said.

Her speech quickly began trending on Twitter.

Wadler also helped organize a walkout at her school to protest gun violence on March 14, the Fairfax County Times reported.

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