Former WDBJ-TV reporter Vester Flanagan shot and killed himself this morning after shooting and killing two former colleagues, reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward, during a live television broadcast.
Vester worked at WDBJ as a reporter for about a year using the on-air name, Bryce Williams, according to a former WDBJ employee. Vester was fired from the station for reasons unknown.
Not only did he shoot and kill two people this morning, he filmed the attack himself and posted the graphic video to social media. His Twitter account also makes claims of racism from the station and from the reporter he shot.
The video he recorded, though graphic, is posted below.
[toggle title=”GRAPHIC VIDEO – OPEN TO WATCH” state=”close”][/toggle]
On air, the audience saw the camera fall to the ground and caught the briefest glimpse of a man who appeared to point a gun toward the cameraman.
Vester has reportedly shot himself following a brief manhunt.
UPDATE: Vester is still alive and in critical condition, according to new reports. Previously, VA state police said Flanagan was dead.
— WHSVnews (@WHSVnews) August 26, 2015
BREAKING NEWS: Alleged shooter of two Virginia journalists has shot himself: local ABC affiliate Twitter account
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) August 26, 2015
Update #2: He’s dead. ABC News received a 23-page manifesto from Vester.
In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:
“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…”
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”
It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.
Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harrisand Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.'”
In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family.”
He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….”
“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily…I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”