After a lengthy hiatus following his suspension from NBC Nightly News back in February, Brian Williams was tasked with holding down the MSNBC anchor chair to cover the mass school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR. While the longtime anchor did in fact grace our TV screens to cover the Pope’s visit to America last month, this marks Williams’ first hard-hitting news story since the suspension.
Reminiscent of the Columbine High School mass shooting in 1999, Virginia Tech in 2007, and sadly so many more, a reported 10 people were killed and at least seven others wounded during the shooting, which broke out yesterday. The gunman, who has been confirmed dead, has been identified by authorities as 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer.
As the live camera panned to the school’s parking lot during MSNBC’s live coverage of the aftermath, Williams solemnly noted that the vehicles were owned by students and staff – possibly even the gunman – who were inside, “some of whom won’t be going home tonight.”
The journalist was suspended from NBC when it was revealed that he allegedly misrepresented his role in various news events, including during his coverage of the 2003 war in Iraq. This summer, he was reassigned to cover special events for MSNBC following the six-month suspension. While the coverage needed a seasoned anchor with Williams’ poise, it’s devastating that his return to the anchor desk was to cover such a tragic event, as the country deals with yet another mass shooting.
Williams was the anchor of the NBC Nightly News for the past 10 years. Following his suspension, Lester Holt took over the post.
Through his lengthy career, Williams has covered many major news stories, including Hurricane Katrina and the Boston Marathon bombings, and has won numerous awards.
President Obama has since commented on the shooting. “There are more American families – moms, dads, and children – whose lives have been changed forever. That means there’s another community stunned with grief – and communities across the country forced to relive their own anguish and parents across the country who are scared because they know it might have been their family or their children.”
The President went on to admit the media coverage, and his response, have become “routine” because this has happened too many times already. “We’ve become numb to this,” he declared.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families, and all those affected by this tragedy.