Reporter Killed, Photographer Shot, Covering Story of Earlier Shooting

24 Feb, 2023 Liz Carey

                               

Pine Hills, FL (WorkersCompensation.com) – A reporter, Dylans Lyons, who was covering a homicide in Orange County, Fla., was killed and a photographer, Jesse Walden, injured, when the suspect in the shooting returned to the scene in Pine Hills and opened fire. 

The gunman, 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses, also shot and killed a 9-year-old girl, and injured her mother during the shooting spree. Police said the photographer and the mother were in critical condition Wednesday night. 

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said at a news conference Moses was in the area around 11 a.m. when he shot and killed a 20-year-old woman who was his acquaintance. 

Later, around 4 p.m., he said, a news crew from Spectrum News 13 was waiting in a car to cover the shooting, when Moses returned to the scene and shot both of them. Mina said Moses then walked into a nearby house and shot the 9-year-old girl and her mother.

Mina said there was no clear connection between Moses and the four later victims. Mina said it wasn’t even clear if Moses knew the reporter and photographer were journalists. 

 “Their vehicle doesn’t really look like a news vehicle to me,” he said. 

 By Wednesday evening Moses was in custody and charged with one count of murder for the shooting of the 20-year-old. Mina said other charges were expected for the later shootings. 

“No one in our community — not a mother, not a 9-year-old and certainly not news professionals — should become the victim of gun violence in our community,” he said.

Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum News 13, conveyed its condolences via Twitter. 

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleague and the other lives senselessly taken today,” the company tweeted. “Our thoughts are with our employee’s family, friends and co-workers during this very difficult time. We remain hopeful that our other colleague who was injured makes a full recovery. This is a terrible tragedy for the Orlando community.”

News 13 said it would not be releasing the names of the employees who were shot. The station’s staff continued live reporting despite their co-workers being killed and wounded.

“This is extremely devastating for all of us,” reporter News 13 Celeste Springer said on air after the shooting. “But I am proud to have such an amazing team backing all of us. .... Please, please say a prayer tonight for our co-worker who is in critical condition. And while you’re at it, please say a prayer for every victim of gun violence.”

Other news crews in the area to cover the shooting were not injured. According to WFTV-Channel 9, the shooter walked by other reporters and to fire on the News 13 vehicle. 

“The man walked by our crew who was working in their car. Our crew ducked,” WFTV’s Nick Papantonis tweeted. “The man then walked up to the other crew working in their car and opened fire.”

By evening, news of the shooting reached the White House

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also tweeted out her condolences.

“Our hearts go out to the family of the journalist killed today and the crew member injured in Orange County, Florida, as well as the whole Spectrum News team,” she tweeted.

Journalists increasingly face hazards on the job. 

In September 2022, investigative reporter for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, was stabbed to death in front of his home on a Saturday morning. Police later arrested Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles and charged him with German’s murder. German had recently written articles critical of Telles including mismanagement of the administrator’s office, as well as an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. 

In 2015, a former television reporter killed both members of a television news crew during a live news segment in Roanoke, Va. 

Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, used social media and his own video camera to film himself shooting two of his former colleagues, Alison Parker and Adam Ward with WDBJ. Flanagan, who had a history of conflicts at work and rage stoked by racial grievances, waited until Parker was live on the air interviewing a local Chamber of Commerce executive director to open fire. 

After the shooting, Flanagan wrote about the shooting on Twitter, uploaded his own video of the shooting to Facebook, and sent a manifesto about the shooting to ABC News detailing his admiration of mass killers and the discrimination and sexual harassment he faced as a gay black man. Within a few hours, Flanagan took his own life by shooting himself in the head. 

In 2022, 67 journalists were killed around the world, with at least 41 of them being killed in retaliation for their work. The number killed is nearly double what it was in 2021, and experts believe the increase was due to coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and coverage of violence in Latin America. Fifteen journalists were killed in Ukraine, 13 in Mexico and 7 in Haiti. 


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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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