Shooting on Live TV

Vester Lee Flanagan

On August 26, 2015, 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan also known as Bryce Williams shot and killed two television journalists while they were doing a live broadcast in Virginia. The on-air shooting occurred at 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza, about 200 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. Hours later, someone claiming to have filmed the shooting posted it to a Twitter account and on Facebook by a man identifying himself as Bryce Williams, which was Vester Lee Flanagan’s on-air name. Vester Lee Flanagan shot himself as police pursued him on a Virginia highway hours after the on-air shooting and died later at Inova Fairfax Hospital.

Vester Lee Flanagan had grievances against the news station; CBS affiliate WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Virginia that fire him two years ago. He posted the video of the shooting from his vantage point and sent a 23-page manifesto to ABC News about two hours after the shooting, saying his attack was triggered by the June 17 shooting massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, which nine people were killed, and admitted gunman 21-year-old Dylann Storm Roof has been charged.

ABC News cited Vester Lee Flanagan as saying he had suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and bullying at work. Black men and white women attacked him for being a gay black man, he said.

“I’ve been a human powder keg for a while… just waiting to go BOOM!” ABC News cited Vester Lee Flanagan ’s manifesto as saying.

Communications manager at the Hawaii state Department of Land and Natural Resources Dan Dennison confirmed the harassment and described Vester Lee Flanagan as a “professional victim” during his time at the station before being fired in 2013.

“He was victimized by everything and everyone and could never quite grasp the fact that he was the common denominator in all of these really sometimes serious interpersonal conflicts that he had with people,” Dan Dennison said.


The Victims

Alison Parker, 24, was a Virginia native who worked as an intern at WDBJ/7 before being hired last year as a reporter there, according to her network affiliate biography. Alison Parker graduated from James Madison University in December of 2012. She recently moved in with her boyfriend of nine months, Chris Hurst, an anchor at the same news station.

Adam Ward, 27, also worked as an intern at WDBJ/7 before the station hired him first in the production department and then as a news photographer. He was planning his wedding to the station’s morning producer, Melissa Ott. Adam Ward graduated from Virginia Tech and grew up in Salem, Virginia.

Vicki Gardner is recovering from a gunshot wound to the back. She grew up in Union Springs, in central New York State, and has been the executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce for 13 years, according to her social media sites.

“It breaks my heart every time you read or hear about these kinds of incidents…” President Obama responded on the shooting. “What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around the country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism.”

By Shamarie, 28th Aug 2015


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