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#WDBJshooting: What We Know About the Gunman

#WDBJshooting: What We Know About the Gunman

Vester Flanagan was disturbed…but he was also a murderer

This morning, Virginia reporter Alison Parker and her cameraman Adam Ward lost their lives after a former co-worker ambushed their live shot with his own camera and a handgun. The attack was aired on live TV, horrifying both their colleagues, and viewers of the WDBJ’s early morning show.

Ward managed to capture footage of the shooting before falling to the ground; things went dark on the broadcast, but his camera caught a shot of the gunman:

A several-hour pursuit ended when authorities finally apprehended the suspect; he had shot himself in the head on Interstate 6 in Faquier County and later died in a Washington, DC-area trauma center.

We now know the identity of that gunman. Vester Flanagan, a/k/a Bryce Williams (his professional alias,) had previously worked at WDBJ, but was fired after anger management issues boiled over into the workplace.

Before the shooting, Flanagan faxed a 23-page manifesto to ABC News blaming the Charleston shootings for his actions:

“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…,” the faxed document said, according to ABC News.

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

The fax reportedly went on to say that Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act, and later, the writer quoted the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calling him “his boy.” The writer also reportedly expressed admiration for the Columbine High School killers.

The fax reportedly served as an often rambling letter to authorities and family and friends of the writer. The writer labeled one part of the document a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family,” according to the network.

Flanagan posted several tweets during the police pursuit, and published his own first-person perspective video of Alison and Adam’s murder. He claimed that he suffered racial discrimination at the hands of this former colleagues, because he was black, and gay.

Flanagan had a history of complaining about his treatment in the workplace:

In 2000, Flanagan filed a complaint against WTWC-TV in Tallahassee seeking $15,000 for race discrimination and retaliation, according to court documents.

According to the complaint, Flanagan, who is black, “complained of unlawful employment practices in the workplace and was the victim of retaliation thereafter.”

The complaint alleges Flanagan was called a “monkey” by a producer working for WTWC-TV in or around the summer of 1999. It further alleges that in the fall of 1999, Flanagan was told by a co-worker that it “busted her butt that blacks did not take advantage of the free money,” allegedly referring to scholarship money made available to African-Americans attending college.

The complaint alleges the co-worker then stated that “blacks are lazy and do not take advantage of free money.”

In December 1999, the complaint alleges, inappropriate comments were made by co-workers in reference to a black murder suspect.

The complaint says that after Flanagan notified managerial-level employees of these alleged incidents, he was notified his contract was not going to be renewed.

According to court filings, the complaint was settled in January 2001.

He also sued WDBJ, alleging similar mistreatment, but the claim was dismissed:

The Roanoke Times reports Flanagan was hired by WDBJ-TV in the spring of 2012 and was let go in February 2013. In May 2014, Flanagan filed a lawsuit against WDBJ claiming unpaid overtime, wrongful termination, retaliation, hostile work environment, racial harassment and discrimination.

A memo from WDBJ regarding Flanagan’s termination is included in court records obtained by CBS News. The memo says that when Flanagan was told he was being fired, he responded by saying, “You better call police because I’m going to make a big stink. This is not right.”

According to the memo, Flanagan went on to berate staff members – including Adam Ward – who was present and recording the incident. When Flanagan was ultimately escorted from the newsroom by police, he handed another staff member a wooden cross that was on his desk and said, “You’ll need this,” the memo says.

Another WBDJ memo in the court filing says all employees at the station were informed Flanagan was terminated and that “anyone seeing him on company property should call 911 immediately.”

In the immediate wake of the shooting, gun control advocates immediately started searching for evidence suggesting that Flanagan’s actions could be blamed on lax gun control laws. However, a cursory investigation into how he managed to obtain his weapon showed that he passed a background check.

We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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Comments

legacyrepublican | August 26, 2015 at 10:10 pm

I would be real interested in what his tweets said about #BlackLivesMatter.

The irony is that in taking his own life and the lives of others, he showed that Black Lives Don’t Matter.

Another leftist would be mass murderer. I think that many on the left who call for more gun control do so because when they look around the lefty environs they see so many loopy leftists that they fear for their own safety. Think Stalin. Think Mao. Think of the Kims. If you haven’t, get trained and get armed.

    Clinger in reply to faboutlaws. | August 27, 2015 at 11:16 am

    I’ve heard comments from lefty folks I know, that they couldn’t own a firearm, “cause I’d go KILL people if I had it”.

    I look at them and say “you’re right, you SHOULDN’T own a gun, because you are unstable”

    They actually agree with me.

    My firearms must be defective. Not ONCE in over 30 years has any of them jumped up and shot me or anyone else…

Black, progressive, gay. That’s pretty much a hat trick in the leftist “biggest victim” game.

I’m not surprised he was angry and had an entitlement mentality.

NC Mountain Girl | August 26, 2015 at 10:56 pm

For over 15 years this man’s coworkers in the media all knew he had several screws loose.

In my own life I am dealing with an obviously mentally ill person where his superiors all agree he needs help. But none of them will do anything to see that he gets help because that would be politically incorrect. They operate under the erroneous belief that a mentally ill person must seek that help on their own. Here is a clue: mentally ill people do not think there is anything wrong with them! It’s normal people who are the problem.

Black gay man kills straight white woman. There’s a hate crime here somewhere.

“lost their lives after a former co-worker ambushed their live shot with his own camera and a handgun.”

PS: Very roundabout way of saying “WERE MURDERED”.

Can we please use accurate language?

The freak had been fired by a Jacksonville station for bizarre behavior and being a general pain before Roanoke hired him. Which makes me wonder why they would.

Except that most companies won’t give you a reference any more. They may confirm employment, but most won’t even tell you if the person is eligible for rehire (those fired for cause usually are not). It’s all legal reasons, people sue for bad recommendations and there is nothing the former employer gains by taking the risk.

– –

When I was running a small local paper, the publisher called me in to ask a favor. The company also was a regional print shop, and was about to hire a new accountant. They noticed he had worked for the same Fortune 100 company I had in another state, so asked me to call. The HR guy was delighted to hear from me, wanted to meet for golf and lunch when he came through my state, but adamantly refused to give me anything beyond confirmation of employment.

I told my publisher that was odd, since I knew the head of HR there well and he would not even tell me anything “off the record.” I recommended they not hire the guy. They did anyway, he ended up embezzling about $300,000.

Well, the good news is he blew his own brains out. Saved us custody and court costs.

On the other hand, CNN and MSNBC have been deprived of a lot of programming.

Vester Flanagan made various lethal sounding threats before and after he was fired. After Flanagan was escorted off the premises, was a security guard hired to protect workers? If not, why not?
~~~
Blaming others for your being a malcontent is de rigeur these days: “You are the problem.” “You “White Supremacists are the problem”! “You gay-bashers, you and you and …!” “And, oh, by the way, the world is f**ked up so I will f**k it up more!” “You whisperers are talking about me aren’t you?” “Nobody, I mean NOBODY, loves-UNDERSTANDS-the social media me!” “The Real Me is nice, too! Why can’t you tell?”

Scapegoating is a psychological convenience store where you can freely access any motive you desire. Just ask a few activists who offer the same products on the street.

    And whatever you do, do not take personal responsibility for your attitudes or your actions. You are a victim: “I have given control of my life over to others and therefore I must project onto them all blame and all liability for not seeing and supporting the “Real Me.” The “system” didn’t give the “Real Me” enough opportunity and certainly not enough narcissistic pampering. Now, the Real Me needs room to destroy.”

    “Injustice gathering” used to be a subgroup identified in the study of juvenile delinquents. They used external focus and excuses for their messed up behaviors. It used to be a viewed as a phase in abnormal personality development. Now it seems to be a social and political movement.

It’s a short trip from DC to Roanoke.

I wonder how many DOJ types have been dispatched to comfort the loved ones and attend the funerals?

Has Barracula called the families?

Midwest Rhino | August 27, 2015 at 8:38 am

Has our community organizer divider in chief been asked if his bully pulpit “all whites have the KKK gene” rhetoric, has anything to do with the Farrakhan style BLMers calls to kill whitey? Does he think making Trayvon, Brown and Freddie into martyrs inspires mayhem, rather than building unity?

Because Trump was asked yesterday, why so many white supremacists were attracted to his campaign. Trump pointed out how many diverse groups he was leading … evangelicals, women, etc. But they kept pursuing the same theme .. “but is there something in your message that especially attracts the white supremacists?”

What we do know is the last shooting in Charleston (which this crazy referenced), that guy stated it was the whole Obama/Trayvon thing that “woke him up” as to what was going on. Obama in Chicago had a 20 year soak in black liberation theology, with an emphasis on guilt … WHITE guilt, and has carried that into office starting with “I don’t know the facts, but the (white) cop acted stupidly”.

So Obama/Sharpton and the black grievance industry inspire the nuts to gather a portfolio of grievances, finding a racist under every rock (e.g. Rick Perry’s), behind every white face. The POTUS said racism is in our genes, and there is little doubt that has inspired a lot of mayhem.

There are so many people in this Country who refuse to take personal responsibility for their actions. If they don’t get that raise or special recognition, They blame the rest of Society. They think that they are entitled to ” Stardom,” in their work place. Nobody owes you anything.

DINORightMarie | August 27, 2015 at 11:12 am

In each and every case he was the angry, disgruntled “victim.”

Yet, in high school (according to at least one who knew him then), he was nothing like that.

Did he learn this drek in his college years? Did he buy into the lies of the leftists, or just seek to pursue an ideology?

We may never know, but it appears his entire post-graduate, professional life is mired in leftist entitlement victimhood.

2nd Ammendment Mother | August 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm

“Vester Flanagan made various lethal sounding threats before and after he was fired. After Flanagan was escorted off the premises, was a security guard hired to protect workers? If not, why not?”

Here is the precise question that is not being asked or answered. Flanagan is probably not the only known threat. Young reporters attract stalkers and aggressive fans (often thanks to the station’s marketing strategies) like flies.

There’s no mention of encouraging staff to participate in self defense classes, avoiding isolated locations, or even something as minimal as carrying mace. I can’t imagine the father of any young attractive woman not insisting that they have a CHL when working in remote isolated situations. There’s no guarantee it could have saved either of them, but at least they would have had some means to try. Open Carry is a better deterrent.

I’ve also not seen anyone consider how many reporters/photogs were sent out on locations with Flanagan while he was still on staff with the station and when he was already exhibiting hostility to his co-workers.

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