A Morning of Celebration Turned Gruesome, in an Instant

By Chris Ariens 

Melissa Ott, the morning show producer at WDBJ, was celebrating with colleagues at the Roanoke, Va., CBS affiliate this morning. She was headed to Charlotte, N.C., for a new job. This tweet was sent by the station at 6:05 a.m. ET, 40 minutes before her life would change.

Ott was engaged to Adam Ward, the morning show photographer. He, along with morning show reporter Alison Parker, was shot and killed by a disgruntled former WDBJ morning reporter Bryce Williams. It all unfolded as Ott was producing her final newscast for WDBJ.

Local TV newsrooms, with their long work days, nights and overnights, can lead to blossoming relationships, and both Ward and Parker were dating colleagues. Parker had been dating the station’s evening anchor, Chris Hurst, for the last nine months.

“Today we received news that no family should ever hear,” Parker’s family said in a statement this afternoon. “Our vivacious, ambitious, smart, engaging, hilarious, beautiful, and immensely talented Alison was taken from the world. This is senseless and our family is crushed.”