On-Air Shooter Dies From Self-Inflicted Gun Wound

Vester Lee Flanagan II, also known as Bryce Williams, posted disgruntled comments about slain reporter after the shooting.

Police said the man believed to be the man who shot and killed a television reporter and cameraman on live television died Wednesday in Virginia.

Augusta County Sheriff’s Office identified Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, of Roanoke, as the suspect in the shooting. The station WDBJ-TV said Flanagan appeared on air as Bryce Williams.

According to now-deleted Twitter and Facebook feeds, Flanagan said he filmed the killings and posted the video on social media. He also tweeted that Parker made racist comments and that he filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission report. Flanagan later crashed a vehicle, and pursuing troopers found him with a gunshot wound. He was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, state police said. The videos posted were of the shooting from the gunman’s perspective.

WDBJ-TV’s Alison Parker, 24, and her cameraman Adam Ward, 27, died shortly after a man shot Vicky Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, in the back and then turned the gun on the two journalists. WDBJ-TV said the shooting took place at about 6:45 am while Parker was in the middle of the interview.

According to the Roanoke Times, Gardner was taken to the hospital for surgery and is in stable condition.

The video of the shooting shows Parker screaming as she ran and could be heard saying “Oh my God” as she was shot. Ward’s camera captured a brief image, which included the suspect’s face, of the shooter before the station switched back to the on-air wide-eyed anchor.

ABC News later reported on its website that the network received a 23-page fax, a sort-of manifesto, from a person who identified himself to be Williams. The fax has been turned over to authorities and its details were not clear.

WDBJ-TV stated that Williams was employed by the station in the past but because of “anger issues” was fired in 2013. According to TMZ, Williams was also employed by a Tennessee station where he alleged racism before he was dismissed.


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