ROANOKE, Va. — The colleagues of two journalists shot to death on live television returned to their morning show Thursday with memories, tears and a determination to carry on.
WDBJ-TV's Mornin' show opened with images of reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, with the words "In Memory."
"We come to you with heavy hearts. Two of our own were shot during a live shot yesterday morning," said Kim McBroom, the anchor whose open-mouthed shock was seen around the world Wednesday after Ward's camera recorded the fatal attack by a disgruntled former colleague.
Perhaps the most poignant segment came when McBroom, weatherman Leo Hirsbrunner and an anchor from a sister station who came to help out joined hands for a moment of silence at 6:45 a.m., 24 hours after the shots rang out.
"We are approaching a moment that none of us will ever forget," McBroom said, her voice faltering as the show went silent.
On-camera, the team mostly kept its composure throughout the broadcast. Off-camera, their struggle was more visible. Hirsbrunner dabbed his eyes, tried to wave away tears and bent down at one point, hands on his knees, to gather himself during a commercial.
"It's not easy," McBroom said during another break, after her voice broke while reading a statement from Parker's family.
Members of the team supported each other throughout.
"I don't know how to do the weather on a day like this," Hirsbrunner said.
"Good job, partner," McBroom told him. "We're going to get through this together."
The husband of Vicki Gardner, who was wounded by the gunman as Parker and Ward interviewed her for a tourism story, showed up to tell viewers that she was recovering.
And Parker's boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, appeared for a short interview.
"Alison, what great things she could have done," Hurst said, telling viewers he needs some time away from his night-time anchor role.
"You won't be seeing me in my normal position for, who really knows how long. But hopefully not too long because Alison would want me back," he said.
The show featured a series of news segments on the shooting, as well as images of Ward and Parker's assignments together, and McBroom thanked Steve Grant, who arrived from a station in Missouri to help.
As the two-hour show went on , a memorial grew outside the station, with balloons, flowers, candles and even a Virginia Tech sweatshirt, honoring Ward's stalwart devotion to his alma mater. TV trucks from all over lined up to do their own stories on the station.