Leon Harris, the anchor on WJLA (Channel 7), is leaving after 13 years, the station said Friday.
WJLA, known as ABC7, declined to comment on the reasons for Harris’s departure, which will become effective next month. Harris was unavailable for comment. Late Friday morning, he said that leaving WJLA was “not my choice.” He also wrote that 13 “great” years at WJLA were “not enough, but will have to be.”
Harris has been co-anchor of the station’s 5, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. He joined WJLA in 2003 from CNN, where he was an anchor.
WJLA, based in Arlington, is the flagship station of Sinclair Broadcast Group. The company, which is headquartered in the Baltimore area, bought the station and six others across the country in 2014 from longtime owner Allbritton Communications for $985 million.
Harris is among several familiar local TV anchors who have retired or cut back their on-air roles. Veteran anchor Gordon Peterson retired from WJLA at the end of 2014. Jim Vance dropped his decades-long role anchoring the 11 p.m. news on WRC (Channel 4) last year but remains at the station and co-anchors the 6 p.m. broadcast. Andrea Roane, who was the evening anchor at WUSA, channel 9, is now on at noon.
“We can’t thank Leon enough for his service to our station and our community,” said WJLA news director Mitch Jacob in a statement. ”He is a journalist of the highest caliber, and has been an asset in our newsroom, and he will be missed.”