WDBJ Virginia Shooting: Hoax Theories Debunked

Alison Parker, Adam Ward, Vicki Gardner

Within minutes of news breaking that a young reporter and her cameraman were shot dead in Virginia, social media users were decrying the apparent tragedy a hoax – They’re Wrong

I don’t say that out of hand. I watched Alison Parker, Adam Ward and interviewee Vicki Gardner stand within feet of the killer like everyone else, baffled that they never even saw him brandishing a gun. However my immediate response to this anomaly wasn’t to call it a “Freemason-Illuminati Media Hoax” and begin mocking the apparent victims. It was to sit back, analyse the footage and wonder whether there are any reasonable explanations for the way the shooting went down.

There are, and I’m going to share them.

… You may find the following material graphic and insensitive. Reader discretion is advised!

Why Did They Not See The Shooter?

WDBJ cameraman Adam Ward moments before shootingThere’s several layers to this question, starting with the possibility that Parker and Gardner did see the shooter (named as Vester Flanagan). Truthers who only deal with black and white will say that this means they were all acting. What they fail to consider is that despite seeing him at some point, it doesn’t mean they saw his gun or understood his intentions. We can exclude Adam Ward from this question because he was busy panning his camera across the scenery below (a standard establishing shot) before settling on the two women talking.

Let’s get one thing straight, this was a live TV broadcast. Parker as a professional will have experienced the presence of bystanders during filming many times, her job is essentially to ignore them, especially if they are close enough to cause a distraction. There are no second takes in live TV. Her sole focus is her interview subject, not a man she would have no fathomable way of knowing was about to shoot her. If she recognized the man as Flanagan, that’s even more reason to keep composure and ensure he doesn’t ruin the broadcast.

Ask yourself an honest question. How many times have you walked down a street, sat on a train, or been in a waiting room and completely ignored the person right next to you? Sure, you know they’re there, but you may only glance at them a couple of times, regardless of how loud they’re sneezing or how frantically they’re rummaging through their bag. Humans are pretty good at zoning out their surroundings, especially when they’re focussed on a specific task. Ever played a video game and completely ignored somebody standing next to the TV?

To illustrate this directly, how many times have you seen a public news broadcast where people are darting all over the place, or even deliberately trying to be a nuisance, but the reporter remains focussed on their job? Every time, because that’s what they do.

AlisonParker spots shooter Vester Flanagan
For a split second Parker spots shooter Flanagan.

Vester Flanagan points gun at Alison Parker
What’s tragic after analysing the footage from the shooter’s perspective is that there is a split second that Parker notices him, but this is before he pulls out the gun, and she immediately goes back to Gardner. By time the gun is out Gardner is being asked a question and is focussed on Parker. Her head is also turned away from Flanagan.

[Update: There’s a lot of people online who are simply refusing to accept that the ladies didn’t see the gun, but that is not an evidence based assessment. We have the video and we know for a fact that neither of them looked at any point after the gun was drawn. Like a horror film we can all scream “he’s behind you” but sadly that doesn’t change reality. Parker was obviously aware of Flanagan’s presence as noted, but not that he was armed with anything other than the cell phone camera he initially approached them with. Parker immediately begins asking Gardner a rather lengthy question after her brief glance at Flanagan. If she was distracted even a little bit her words would have slowed down and she would have been umming and ahhing. Experiment at home, try and recite a question to somebody while taking on board other stimuli. It’s extremely difficult. She did not see the gun!]

After this point Flanagan then lowers the weapon and moves back behind cameraman Ward, choosing to open fire when the women are in the TV camera’s full view. Some may say this itself is suspicious, but we can already deduce that he was there to make an impact. If he wasn’t, he’d have killed Parker on the quiet. So ensuring this went out live simply fits the MO of a narcissistic killer. He also had his own camera to capture his crime!

That being said we don’t know for sure what was going through his mind, he could have just as easily been panicking, stepping forward and then stepping back as he internally jostled with what he was about to do. Assuming they’re all actors because of these actions is to brush aside the complexities of human behaviour.

So why did Parker and Gardner not see him? Parker definitely did, but it was only momentarily as the ladies were focussed on the task at hand. It’s not like they would have been alert and looking out for a gunman that morning.

Is The Shooter’s Hand White?

Does Virginia shooter have white hands?

This is one of those “you see what you want to see” situations. As a white guy with peachy coloured skin, it doesn’t seem like the hand in the shooter’s footage is Caucasian to me. It’s certainly light, perhaps from a tanned white guy or Mexican, but the pigmentation is also 100% in-line with that of an African American. Looking at Flanagan’s hands and general complexion in other images tells us all we need to know about this silly claim.

Vester Flanagan as Bryce Williams WDBJ 7

Vester Flanagan has light skin

And let’s face it, if this was a set-up to frame a black guy, the hoaxers would probably use a black guy!

Oh, like the black guy caught on the news camera for a split second:

Vester Flanagan captured by news camera

Is The Shooter Wearing Black or Blue?

This is another one of those illogical and absolutist points that the truthers haven’t fully considered. It stems from comparing the blue sleeve we see from the shooter’s perspective to the brief clip of the shooter from the news camera’s perspective, which is after he’s started firing and is closer to the darker roofed area.

Virginia shooter blue sleeve black jacket

In some versions of the clip and screencap the clothing looks very dark, close to black (although not jet black), in others he’s clearly wearing blue and there’s nothing suspicious about it at all. We can logically conclude that this is just the contrast between the two cameras and the change in lighting, and the various differences in quality and format as the clips have made their way online. It’s also worth noting that the blue shirt is unbuttoned with something darker underneath.

shooter Vester Flanagan wearing blue

To play devil’s advocate, why would they make all of these so called continuity errors if it was staged?

There’s No Blood, How Did She Run?

First of all this isn’t a video game or a horror film, so don’t expect blood to be squirting at the cameras. Unless there’s an exit wound or an artery has been hit, it’s actually quite rare to see any kind of visible spray. (WARNING CLICK AT YOUR OWN RISK)this video of a detainee shooting himself point blank in the head doesn’t even create that much gore. Parker has turned within 2 seconds, so if she was hit somewhere on her left side, it’s quite possible we wouldn’t see a thing.

That being said we don’t really know where Parker was hit or even if she was hit by those initial 3 bullets. They could have grazed her, they could have hit her where it wouldn’t have immediately immobilized the body or caused massive exterior bleeding. Just like hunted animals people do run when they’ve been shot and their flight mode has kicked in. If they didn’t there would be no such thing as shooting survivors would there?

Reports suggest Flanagan was using a Glock 19, a small 9mm handgun, not much different from what is used by police officers, citizens and criminals across the world. While he mentioned buying hollow point bullets in reference to the Charleston shooting, there is no confirmation that this is the type of ammo he used in the real world.

In reviewing numerous videos of real life shootings online, the vast majority show no visible blood spatter and many victims run after being hit. Here’s a sample:

point blank shooting

No blood spatter.

convenience store shooting

No blood spatter.

cop shoots man running

Runs some distance.

no blood spatter

No blood spatter.

Ohio body cam footage

Shot point blank in the head, no horror film blood.

cop shoots bystander

Gets shot keeps running and collapses off camera.

So is it possible that she could have been hit without any immediate sign of blood or injury, and had the ability to run off? Absolutely. It’s also worth mentioning that her black and red clothing are not the best of colours if the goal is to spot fresh wounds within 2 seconds, from less than perfect video footage.

Likewise most real life shooting videos also don’t seem to pick up the presence of shell casings, so there’s nothing unique about that either. Cameras are often not at a frame rate high enough to capture them being ejected at high speeds. Also remember we’re seeing the shots from the shooter’s perspective. Shell casings often fly behind, to the feet, or to either side of the shooter. There’s no reason why we should see them pinging out in front, especially if they are ejected to the right (like most Glocks) because the gun is so close to the right hand side of the screen and the camera angle is to the left of the gun.

This is why so called comparison videos made by truthers are disingenuous. They’ll show a perfectly captured and slowed down video of a gun being fired with a good angle on the ejection, and then compare it with the low quality vertical clip of this incident where half the time the shooter’s hand is almost out of view and we don’t even see the right hand side where the casings would be ejected.

In the higher quality uploads of the news camera’s perspective (this was captured in broadcast quality with a high frame rate) we do actually see what looks like shell casings flying and dropping to the shooter’s right, and is that blood on the floor as well?:

Shell Casing 1

Virginia shooting shell casings 1

Shell Casing 2

Virginia shooting shell casings 2

This next gif is quite hard to see because of quality issues, but if you focus on the bottom right hand corner, you can see what are quite probably specks of blood landing on the wood. Since the high quality video keeps getting taken down, go find it for yourself and you’ll see it’s definitely not pixelation, and if it’s not blood what is it?

People have also made claims that because we can see the muzzle flash on the gun the video must be fake. Their evidence for this is other gun videos with no muzzle flash. The truth is many videos of glock handguns show muzzle flash. There are so many variables here that it’s silly to write the whole thing off as fake because the shooter’s video managed to capture some flash. Lighting, camera frame rate, different generations of the gun model, different types of ammo, different types of barrel, different modifications … just look at these videos. There’s nothing odd about muzzle flash being captured from a Glock 19.

Somebody even “re-enacted” the shooting itself

The Shots …

Let’s analyse each shot. The shooter emerges from behind the cameraman, so he’s at an awkward angle to begin with, he may even be holding his own camera in his left hand, reducing his precision. Ever tried doing two things at once? Furthermore he’s wobbling all over the place and is not very good at handling the recoil.

Virginia Shooting animated gif

Each image below is exactly at the point where the bullet leaves the gun. Judging from the angles, it is therefore also quite plausible that each bullet narrowly missed her and there would be no wound to even see.

Alison Parker shot 1

Shot 1 may have passed just in front of her, though she does seem to hunch her shoulders and draw her right hand to her abdomen. Since she’s wearing red and pulls her hand there immediately, and the shooter’s own hand is obscuring the area, would we see the wound?

Alison Parker shot 2

Shot 2 also looks like it may have just passed in front of her. Those looking for blood should again realise that at this point the shooter’s hand fully obscures the trajectory of the bullet and she has already started to turn.

Alison Parker shot 3

Shot 3 is in the top right corner of the image and looks to have narrowly missed her head, though if it connected we can’t tell as she is already out of view and proceeds to make 3 steps before the shooter drops or conceals his camera.

At this point there is no more footage, we only hear the chilling screams and a further hail of gunfire.

To conclude it’s highly likely that he simply missed the first three shots, or if one or two did connect (See: possible blood from news camera’s perspective) the immediate wounds are obscured in the shooter’s video. It seems he was then able to finish the job with the rest of the shots.

We’re still waiting on the official word, but reports say both Parker and Ward suffered fatal head shots according to the Medical Examiner, while Gardner survived after surgery.

This is where Parker’s body was found. A few feet down the walkway.

where Alison Parker's dead body was found

Videos and Images Don’t Sync Up?

Another poorly thought out claim levelled by hoax theorists is that the shooter’s video does not match the news camera’s footage, and therefore there were multiple takes and it was all staged. The flaw in this claim is that they only point to one single moment where Parker nods her head in the news footage, and doesn’t seem to do the same in the shooter’s footage.

However every other moment captured on both cameras is exactly the same. The same mannerisms and gestures, the same lip movements, Parker’s shoulders flinching and right hand moving to her abdomen after the first shot, perfectly timed camera panning from Adam Ward. Everything!

Getting all of that exactly right in multiple takes would be virtually impossible. So we can logicically conclude they are both filming the same event. So what is this so called head nodding anomaly?

In truth it’s not an anomaly at all. Below I have synced the two videos. At the moment when Parker nods her head the shooter is obviously rushing forward to take his first shot. The camera is in motion, which obscures the nod, and some of her head isn’t even in the frame which further obscures the movement.

Regular Speed:

Slowed Down:

It seems whenever hoax truthers see anything that could remotely be considered an anomaly they run with it, without looking at the bigger picture and analysing it objectively.

This was further demonstrated in the comments of this article when it was suggested there must have been different film sets because the wooden boards where Alison is shot appear to run widthways in some photos, but in the videos the boards are running lengthways. In reality some of the boards run across at the start and then switch to lengthways under the roofed area. This is clear in the videos and images throughout this article, but here’s a closer look:

Hoax truthers have simply taken obscure photos where we cannot actually see in to the roofed area and then made unsupported claims.

Did The Boyfriend Tweet Before The Shooting?

Whenever these kinds of events happen somebody always seems to find at least one social media posting that was supposedly made before the incident took place, implying a conspirator jumped the gun on their “script.” This makes little sense. Why on earth would anybody carrying out a black-op be dumb enough to post a message to the world before confirmation? And why would it happen on every single occasion truthers claim a false flag took place? Perhaps it really reflects their own repeated errors in judgement?

What we’re most likely witnessing is a combination of fake screenshots and people misunderstanding how timestamps work on social media.

boyfriend Chris Hurst early Tweet

On Twitter whatever time zone you are in is reflected in the time you see under the Tweet. When I view the boyfriend Chris Hurst’s Tweet it reads 2:34pm, which is London time (GMT). Eastern Time (the time zone of Virginia) is 5 hours behind, so it was posted at 9:34am, almost 3 hours after the shooting, which took place at around 6:46am Eastern.

This doesn’t mean the Tweet was posted some 12 minutes earlier as suggested. It means whoever viewed the Tweet and took the screenshot was in a different timezone.

The West Coast (California etc) is 3 hours behind the East Coast on Pacific Time (PDT). At 9:34am ET any State on PDT would be at 6:34am.

So assuming the image isn’t just a photoshop, whoever screencapped it was simply on the other side of the country!

Was The Incident Really Live?

The shooting was broadcast live on local Roanoke, Virginia news show, WDBJ 7. This is evidenced by the 6:46am timestamp of the live feed. The station’s current graphics setup with the ticker and logos etc, always has the timestamp on the right hand side.

We see it during the broadcast and when it cuts back to studio:

Shocked WDBJ reporter live shooting

From the image of the shooter:

Flanagan aiming at Adam Ward

The day after:

WDBJ anchors day after shooting

On the online feed today:

WDBJ online streaming

And back in June:

WDBJ 7 Alison Parker Roller Derby June

The time is always on the right.

Vester Flanagan 6am time stamp hoax

Some unscrupulous truther called The Black Child has cropped an image of the shooter from a DVR recorded version of the broadcast and used the left hand side start time of the show, to claim the footage was really filmed at 6am. We know he’s being disingenuous because he doesn’t show the full screen, where we would see the live feed time on the right hand side where it’s always located.

If the conspirators were going to pre-record the shooting, wouldn’t they do it well in advance to ensure everything was perfect, not just 46 minutes before it would be shown live?

Is There A Third Video Showing A Different Sequence?

Simply put NO! A rumor has been spread around social media and forums with the claim that “I saw” or “people are saying” that there was a third video which showed Adam Ward getting shot first, proving that there were multiple takes and it was staged. The trouble is not one person can produce this video. In the age of the internet this is impossible. Somebody somewhere would have it on their computer if it really existed. So I’m going to make an offer. The first person to show me said video gets $100 straight to their Paypal. I’m waiting …

Was A BBC News Crew Scared Off By Police?

The UK Independent reports that:

Two BBC journalists who filmed the scene where the Virginia shooting suspect crashed and shot himself say they were threatened by state police.

White House reporter Tara McKelvey and video-journalist Franz Strasser were among the first on the scene where the manhunt for the alleged WDBJ gunman Vester Flanagan came to an end, after they saw “sirens blaring” on I-66 West.

But on a day when the ability of journalists to do their jobs unhindered was a particularly heightened issue, officers with Virginia State Police reportedly told the reporters to delete their footage or risk having their camera and car taken away.

Unfortunately it is not out of the ordinary for US police officers to be heavy handed over the filming of crime scenes, or even filming in general. Some of the same hoax truthers will have campaigned online about this issue many times (I’ve experienced anti-film police first hand myself in the UK). So that in and of itself is not particularly odd. Small fry cops, a sensitive crime scene, a stressful situation – some might even be sympathetic towards the police.

Of course it’s also not beyond the realm to imagine a scenario where it was the trigger happy cops who opened fire on black man Flanagan, and in an attempt not to further stoke racial tensions they kept reporters out and called it a suicide.

Obviously I have no evidence for this theory and I’m not sure whether the coroner would set the situation straight. But whatever went on, there’s not really anything to suggest there was a wider conspiracy at play, especially when considering everything else covered in this article.

Are The Father and Boyfriend Crisis Actors?

Chris Hurst crisis actor

This is when hoax truthers really begin to show themselves as horrible human beings. They will pick on anything they perceive as abnormal behaviour from the victim’s family and friends and use it to claim they are “terrible actors” and are just in on the conspiracy. “Why are they not crying” at this precise moment? “How can they smile?” or “why did the father stammer?” It really is a demented little game of nitpicking, with no logical basis.

If you have ever lost a loved one you will know that there are intermittent periods of extreme emotion. It’s not physically possible to literally be balling your eyes out 24/7. Likewise sometimes people get very numb and it doesn’t hit them for days. Humans are complex.

To accurately assess Parker’s father and boyfriend’s emotional response (which is really none of our business) we’d have to be with them the whole time. And any sane person who has seen their appearances will recognize that they do show sadness and emotion for their loss, they also show happiness when recalling happy memories as many people in mourning will do – it’s a coping mechanism. But all of this just isn’t good enough for the truthers, who are all apparently experts in body language. Perhaps what they’re really looking for is what they see in Hollywood movies. Well as much as they want this to be a movie, it’s not, it’s real life.

To demonstrate how disingenuous this concept is, I have made another image focussing on the points where Chris Hurst does show sadness.

Chris Hurst crying after shooting

This concept of “acting” is also problematic. Everybody who is tasked with being in front of a camera is acting to some degree, whether just out of stage fright, or because they’re aware of the questions that will be asked. There will always be prepping and mental rehearsing, and maybe this comes through in the footage, but that doesn’t for one minute mean they are conspirators in a hoax. Furthermore let’s not forget that Hurst also works at the same news station, so he is going to be a bit more composed and professional than others might be in the same situation.

Does Hurst come across as a bit of a narcissist with all of his media appearances? Perhaps, but narcissism isn’t a crime. And if this was some complex Government conspiracy, by now his handlers would have probably told him to quiet down a bit. In that sense his love of the cameras may be more of a sign that he isn’t a conspirator.

Andy Parker gun controlOne reason father Andy Parker might appear to be so comfortable in front of the camera, is that he actually was a small time actor for about 6 years in the late 70s early 80s. Now this may come as a massive shock to the hoax truthers, but former actors’ children can be shot dead just like any other peoples’ children.

If this was a staged event, why would they use somebody with a clear acting history that can be found with a Google search? So the truthers can discover the not so secret secret and lose their shit?

It’s not like he’s trying to hide the fact. It’s on his public profiles.

Andy Parker actor profile

The “crisis actor” concept (actors paid to stage events) is as ridiculous now as it ever was. Not one of these actors has ever been uncovered! Sure there are a lot of mentally deranged Youtube videos of truthers taking images of different people and claiming they are the same person acting in multiple events (which would be an absolutely stupid thing for the conspirators to do), but actual tangible evidence simply does not back this idea up. So Andy Parker being and actor when he was younger is simply evidence that he was an actor when he was younger. So what?

A lot has also been made about the pair calling for gun control, as if family members of shooting victims have never called for gun control before. A large portion of the country call for gun control after every high profile shooting. It’s a popular opinion right now. If it’s something they feel passionate about, why wouldn’t they push it on TV?

Was Chris Hurst Really Alison Parker’s Boyfriend

One of the sillier theories out there claims that Chris Hurst was never really Alison Parker’s boyfriend and that he was simply playing the role as part of the conspiracy. The so called evidence for this is a lack of social media images of the two together, while there seems to be many images of Parker and her ex-boyfriend on one of his accounts. Other random claims are that Hurst is a homosexual “gay boy,” is too ugly to have ever been dating Parker, and must be an actor because he still uses a physical photo album in 2015.

These ideas have mostly been pushed by an obnoxious Youtuber called Peekay22.

Sadly for some hoax truthers that’s all the “evidence” they need – a bizarre idea that quantity of public photos has any baring on somebody’s personal relationship, blatant homophobia, and an irrational suspicion of photos that have been developed the traditional way. This is the mentality we’re dealing with!

Back in the real world it’s perfectly normal for relationships to end and new ones to start. It’s also perfectly normal for some couples to be very open about their love and others not to be. It’s also perfectly normal to develop or print photos as a keepsake. My sister does it. Is she a crisis actor?

Chris Hurst and Alison Parker photo album

… Hang I thought there was a lack of photos of them together? For whatever reason the photo album doesn’t count, and neither do these:

Chris Hurst Alison Parker 1

Chris Hurst Alison Parker 2

Chris Hurst Alison Parker 3

Chris Hurst Alison Parker 4

Chris Hurst Alison Parker 5

If Hurst and Parker were never together don’t you think at least one person they know would have piped up by now? And come to think of it, if this was staged why the hell would she need somebody to play her boyfriend? Some of these illogical theories are getting laughably absurd.

The nail in the coffin is that Parker’s ex-boyfriend himself has spoken out in anger at Peekay22’s ridiculous theory. Here is a snippet of their conversation:

Daniel Wulz Alison Parker

What a hate-filled cretin he is.

Has The Truth Movement Jumped The Shark? YES!

The so called “truthers” haven’t helped themselves in recent years. In a society where most people think they’re crazy anyway, a large portion of them have collectively decided that every single terrorist attack, mass shooting, and high profile instance of politically or ideologically driven violence … isn’t real.

No deaths, the victims simply acting out their injuries as “crisis actors” (a made up profession), and the alleged culprits are being set-up to push different government/new world order/illuminati agendas. From Sandy Hook, to the Boston Bombings, to this week’s shocking footage – according to them none of it really happened.

They’ve moved away from more considered and detailed research in to black operations and traditional false flag attacks, to running around like headless chickens calling anything and everything reported by the mainstream media fake. In the process any counter-culture “truth movement” that did exist over the past decade has fallen so far off the deep end that even self professed conspiracy theorists like me want nothing to do with their insanity.


Follow WideShut