Early Wednesday morning, a normal morning news broadcast was caught in tragedy when a former News reporter Vester Lee Flanagan- who went by Bryce Williams on air- fatally shot two of his coworkers live on air.
24 year old news anchor Alison Parker, and 27 year old cameraman Adam Ward were fatally shot during a live news interview for WDBJ7 in Virginia Wednesday morning. The gunman who shot the two, was Vester Flanagan. A former coworker of both parties who was fired from WDBJ7 in February of 2013. It is known that in July of 2012, V. Flanagans’ bosses told him to seek Health Advocate, an employee assistance program because he did not get along with his coworkers and while at WDBJ7 he quickly became known for his difficult to work with reputation.
In March of 2014, Flanagan filed a lawsuit against WDBJ in which he said was racially and sexually discriminated. Flanagan’s’ case was investigated and found to have no merit. This was not the first time Flanagan filed a lawsuit against a news station for alleged racial discrimination either. In 2000 Flanagan filed a case against former employer WTWC-TV based out of Tallahassee, when in 1999 Flanagan was fired from this station due to poor performance and office misbehavior. This case was also dropped out of court in 2001 for terms that were unclear.
During the live broadcast where two were fatally killed, Flanagan can be seen and heard. Roughly two hours after the fatal shooting, ABC News received a 23 page manifesto from Bryce Williams. In the manifesto, Flanagan says that he was bullied at work for being black and gay. He also praised the Virginia Tech shooter, and the Columbine High School Shooters. He also said that this shooting was in response to the Charelston, South Carolina shooting earlier this year.
After the live shooting took place on air, Flanagan returned home where he tweeted “I filmed the shooting see Facebook.” On his Facebook account, there is the video he filmed of the shooting from his perspective. You can see Flanagan walk right up behind Ward and whisper “Bitch” and see his gun being raised.
State Police issued a statement saying they had apprehended Flanagan after he crashed his car on Interstate 66 in Virginia around 11:30 a.m. At eh age of 41, Flanagan died Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.