08/26/2015 11:45 EDT

WDBJ Reporters Killed On TV Mourned By Station Manager

"I cannot tell you how much they were loved."

News of the shooting deaths of two Virginia journalists came hardest to those who knew them best.

During an emotional broadcast, Jeff Marks, station manager of WDBJ-TV, had to confirm the deaths of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. (Watch Marks' address above.)

"It is my very, very sad duty to report that we have determined, through the help of the police ... that Alison and Adam died this morning," said Marks.

"I cannot tell you how much they were loved."

The pair were doing a live broadcast on Wednesday morning when shots were fired. People watching the newscast saw the camera fall, and the gunman pointing his weapon at Ward before the live feed was cut off by the news station, according to CNN.

Police identified the suspect as ex-employee Vester Lee Flanagan, who reportedly shot himself after a police chase. Reports say Flanagan, who worked under the name Bryce Williams, is in critical condition.

Marks was candid in his remarks on hearing that news.

“I’m stepping out of my role as a journalist here: I’m not really sure if I want him to live or die. If he dies, he takes the cowards way out. And if he lives, he’ll go to trial," Marks said in a live CNN interview, acknowledging, "I’m speaking way out of turn but I think I'm expressing what viewers think, and what many co-workers of Alison and Adam think."

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Photo gallery Virginia Shooting of Alison Parker and Adam Ward See Gallery