The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Police/Courts

July 16, 2014

Gun shot narrowly misses TV reporter taping story near Beckley apartments

A reporter for WVVA television had already been told to leave the scene of a fatal weekend shooting at the Willbrian Apartments in Beckley when she asked an apartment dweller for an interview. But after completing another assignment in the area, Annie Moore went back to do a stand-up shot and get some file footage for the story.

Moore was standing across the street from the apartment complex on Ewart Avenue with her back to the Exhibition Coal Mine parking lot when she heard a shot from the direction of Harper Road.  

“It’s time to get out of here,” she thought to herself and was ready to put her camera away, when about 30 seconds later another shot rang out, this one whizzing by her head.

“The only thing I saw was white smoke go by,” she said. “This was a person shooting to kill.”

Moore said she left the television camera on the sidewalk, took cover in the WVVA news vehicle and went to file a police report.

Another WVVA employee retrieved the camera after arriving at the scene about the same time as a Beckley police officer. They discovered what could be evidence on video.

The video Moore got, while being shot at, shows a white SUV turning into the Willbrian Apartment complex. It also shows two people in a green older-model Ford truck driving past her, and the sound of a shot is clear.

Moore came back to work on Tuesday, but found herself being a little more careful.

“As I was walking in, I was looking over my shoulder for that vehicle,” she said, noting no arrests have been made. Moore said she is more fearful when she is out working for the Bluefield-based television station than she is at home, because she doesn’t believe the incident was personal. “I feel he was upset at us shooting B-roll,” she said.

Moore said she did learn some things. For one, she said, the Willbrian Apartment area is not a safe place to be alone. “I should have been more cognizant,” she said.

Ironically, just two weeks ago, Moore and her family took in the Exhibition Coal Mine, parking just feet away from where the incident occurred Monday. “I thought it was a fun place,” she said of the tourist area.

While it wasn’t the first on-the-job incident where Moore has felt uncomfortable and wary, it is the first time she’s felt like she was in danger.

“As a reporter, your job is to keep yourself out of the story, but sometimes, in incidences like this, you become part of the story,” Moore said.

She is concerned that the person who fired the shot is still at large.

“He or she is still a threat to the public,” Moore said. “I’m hoping for a speedy arrest.”

Moore was covering the death of a person who whose body was found in the apartment complex on Saturday. Police responded to a call of shots fired at Willbrian Apartments and discovered the body in the parking lot when they arrived between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

No arrests have been made in either incident. No one at the Beckley Police Department returned a telephone call seeking comment.

— E-mail:ppritt@register-herald.com

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