Fired reporter kills 2 former co-workers on live TV

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WDBJ Fatal Shooting Suspect Dead In Apparent Suicide


MONETA, Va. (AP) -- A TV reporter and cameraman were shot to death on live television Wednesday by their former colleague, a journalist who also recorded himself carrying out the killings and then posted the video on social media.

The gunman, who was fired in 2013 from WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, fled the scene and went online, posting the video on Facebook and Twitter. He also reportedly faxed a 23-page manifesto and "suicide note" to ABC News, describing himself as a "human powder keg" that was "just waiting to go BOOM!!!!"

SEE ALSO: Social media reactions to the fatal on-air shooting

Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, who appeared on WDBJ as Bryce Williams, had evidently been planning the attack for some time, authorities said. As he fled, he switched vehicles, picking up a rental car he had previously reserved at an airport. Troopers caught up with him hours later and hundreds of miles away after he fatally shot himself and ran off the road.

The live spot by reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward was nothing out of the ordinary: They were interviewing a local official at an outdoor shopping mall for a tourism story. Then, at about 6:45 a.m., morning show viewers saw her suddenly scream and run, crying "Oh my God," as she fell. Ward fell, too, and the camera he had been holding on his shoulder captured a fleeting image of the suspect holding a handgun.

WDBJ quickly switched back to the anchor at the station, her eyes large and jaw dropping as she said, "OK, not sure what happened there." The station later went live again, reporting on their own staff as the story developed.

Parker and Ward died at the scene after the gunman fired about 15 shots. Their interview subject, Vicki Gardner, was in stable condition later Wednesday after surgery for her wounds.

Video posted on Bryce Williams' Twitter account and Facebook page hours later showed an outstretched arm holding the handgun. The shooter walked up to the victims and stood a few feet away, but with all three in the midst of the live TV interview, none seemed to notice. The gunman waited until Ward's camera was pointed at Parker, and then fired repeatedly.

WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: AOL.com has decided not to run the full video, but collected still images of the video that show its extremely graphic content in the gallery below.

5 PHOTOS
Vester Flanagan posts on-air shooting video on Twitter (Bryce Williams)
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Fired reporter kills 2 former co-workers on live TV

Footage shared from a Twitter account belonging Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, appears to show him shooting two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

(Photo via Twitter)

Footage shared from a Twitter account belonging Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, appears to show him shooting two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

(Photo via Twitter)

Footage shared from a Twitter account belonging Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, appears to show him shooting two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

(Photo via Twitter)

Footage shared from a Twitter account belonging Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, appears to show him shooting two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

(Photo via Twitter)
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Flanagan was described by Jeffrey Marks, WDBJ's president and general manager as an "an unhappy man" and "difficult to work with," always "looking out for people to say things he could take offense to."

"Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well," Marks explained, adding that police had to escort him out of the station when he was fired.

See photos from the scene and developments on social media:

39 PHOTOS
WDBJ Moneta, Virginia on-air shooting
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Fired reporter kills 2 former co-workers on live TV
This undated photo provided by WDBJ-TV, in Roanoke, Va., shows station reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward. Ward and Parker were fatally shot on-air Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, by a former staffer in Moneta, Va. (WDBJ-TV via AP)
WDBJ-TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, second from right, and meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, are joined by visiting anchor Steve Grant, second from left, and Dr. Thomas Milam, of the Carilion Clinic, as they observe a moment of silence during the early morning newscast at the station, in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. The moment of silence was at the moment reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Members of the WDBJ-TV7 news staff prepare for the early morning newscast at the station, in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. A reporter and cameraman from the station were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, by a former colleague. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
WDBJ-TV7 anchor Chris Hurst, right, hugs meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner during the early morning newscast at WDBJ-TV7, in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Hurst was the fiance of Alison Parker, who was killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
WDBJ-TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, center, gets a hug from visiting anchor Steve Grant, left, as meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner reflects after their early morning newscast at the station, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Roanoke, Va. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
MONETA, VA - AUGUST 26: Police work the crime scene at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake on August 26, 2015 in Moneta, Virginia. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed this morning during a live broadcast. The victims have been identified as reporter Alison Parker and camerman Adam Ward. Parker, 24 and Ward, 27, worked for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. The suspect, Vester Lee Flanigan, also known as Bryce Williams, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)

Authorities block Booker T. Washington Highway at Bridgewater Plaza, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va., after two journalists were fatally shot while broadcasting live from the plaza earlier in the day. (Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP)

In this framegrab from video made by the camera of WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward, Vester Lee Flanagan II stands over Ward with a gun after fatally shooting him and reporter Alison Parker during a live on-air interview in Moneta, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Flanagan, who had been an employee at WDBJ and appeared on air as Bryce Williams, posted his own video of the attack on his social media accounts after fleeing the scene. (Twitter via AP)
This undated composite photograph made available by WDBJ-TV shows reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward. Parker and Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station in 2013. (Courtesy of WDBJ-TV via AP)
MONETA, VA - AUGUST 26: The TV truck that journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward drove before they were killed this morning during a live broadcast sits in a parking lot near the scene on August 26, 2015 in Moneta, Virginia. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed this morning during a live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake. The victims have been identified as reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. Parker, 24 and Ward, 27, worked for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. The suspect, Vester Lee Flanigan, also known as Bryce Williams, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)
Investigators look at the body of WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward after he and reporter Alison Parker were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
This undated photo provided by WDBJ-TV, shows Vester Lee Flanagan II, who killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward in Moneta, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Flanagan was a former employee at WDBJ who appeared on air as Bryce Williams. (WDBJ-TV via AP) 
UNITED STATES - August 26: Virginia State Police, as well as local and federal authorities, investigate the scene on Interstate 66 eastbound where Vester Lee Flanagan II crashed his car after being pursued by state police near Linden, Va., Wednesday, August 26, 2015. Flanagan was being pursued after fatally shooting WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker during an on-air interview in Moneta, Va. Flanagan was a former journalist at the television station, where he appeared on air as Bryce Williams. Photo By Al Drago/CQ Roll Call)
Authorities block Virginia State Route 122 at Bridgewater Plaza, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va., after two journalists were fatally shot while broadcasting live from the plaza earlier in the day. (Stephanie Klein-Davis/The Roanoke Times via AP)
This undated photograph made available by WDBJ-TV shows reporter Alison Parker, left, and cameraman Adam Ward. Parker and Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station in 2013. (Courtesy of WDBJ-TV via AP) 
Investigators search garbage from a dumpster near the apartment of Vester Lee Flanagan II, in Roanoke, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Flanagan filmed himself gunning down a WDBJ-TV reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast Wednesday and posted the video on social media after fleeing the scene. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
MONETA, VA - AUGUST 26: Franklin County, Virginia sheriff, Bill Overton speaks to the press on August 26, 2015 in Moneta, Virginia. Two employees of WDBJ TV were killed this morning during a live broadcast at Bridgewater Plaza on Smith Mountain Lake. The victims have been identified as reporter Alison Parker and camerman Adam Ward. Parker, 24 and Ward, 27, worked for WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia. The suspect, Vester Lee Flanigan, also known as Bryce Williams, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. (Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)
A Roanoke police officer moves road cones back into position after letting a vehicle through at WDBJ's Digital Broadcast Center, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Roanoke, Va. Two of the station's journalists were fatally shot while doing an on-air broadcast earlier in the day at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Va. (Erica Yoon/The Roanoke Times via AP)
We love you, Alison and Adam. http://t.co/hLSzQi06XE
It is with extreme sadness that we report WDBJ7's Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed in an attack this morning. http://t.co/oC9s4vLJXV
Very sad moment in the newsroom as the WDBJ GM confirms that both the reporter and photographer are dead. Senseless http://t.co/qWvWd55UZh
We didn't share this publicly, but @AParkerWDBJ7 and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb. http://t.co/tUrHVwAXcN
We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married.We just celebrated her 24th birthday
Map locates Moneta, Va. (Photo via AP)
Still shots of #WDBJ killer. Please RT. http://t.co/5y3mJLs9nn
#BREAKING #WDBJ shooting suspect Vester Flanagan has shot and killed himself on I-66: http://t.co/3Nx0vOkeIN #WHSV http://t.co/BHVR6QcvTS
The suspect in the #WDBJ shooting is being chased north on I-81
Don't share the video of the shooting Share this link: 12 minutes of the WDBJ crew remembering who these people were http://t.co/m4eWGija1x
Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce was hurt in the shooting. We are told she is in surgery. http://t.co/XLx3pS2I5X
Just hanging out in the newsroom with @jdashiell and Photographer Adam Ward! http://t.co/lyW9cCZ99G
Photog Adam @dowork88 playing with little Ralphie this morning at the Regional Center for Animal Care and Protection! http://t.co/TcooX5ZKu6
A "rock star" & a "great journalist." Friends remember #WDBJ journalists killed in shooting: http://t.co/V11VsJB7D7 http://t.co/qI8WGKlIJW
Late journalist Alison Parker in her own words. The video was posted to #WDBJ website earlier this year. http://t.co/gFabZwreK6
I am comforted by everyone at @WDBJ7. We are a family. She worked with Adam every day. They were a team. I am heartbroken for his fiancee.
Heartbroken over senseless murders today in Smith Mountain Lake. State Police on scene working w/ local law agencies to capture suspect.
This is a horrific day for our @wdbj family and the community we serve. http://t.co/LYRDFB8C2R
JUST IN: Reporter and photographer killed after gunman opens fire live on TV http://t.co/sHeTmsOhcm @wsls http://t.co/eZ8XnSdHz2
#WDBJ7 http://t.co/vuceViGwpi
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Ward, 27, was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott, who was celebrating her last day on the job. Parker, 24, had recently moved in with another co-worker, WDBJ anchor Christ Hurst.

Hurst wrote online that they hadn't shared their relationship publicly but "were very much in love." He said they had just moved in together and wanted to get married. "I am numb," he said.

Parker was raised in the Martinsville, Virginia, area and joined the station as an intern after attending James Madison University, where she was the editor of the school's newspaper, The Breeze.

In answer to inquiries from family and friends as to how they could honor Alison, the Parker family thought of JMU. ...

Posted by JMU Alumni Association on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Others at the station said it was particularly hard for Ott, who watched the shooting unfold from the control room.

"Adam was our go-to guy. He pretty much was available to do anything that we asked," said WDBJ spokesman Mike Morgan. "He did live shots during our morning show for several years."

Tweets posted on Williams' Twitter account Wednesday described workplace conflicts with both victims. They say Williams filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Parker, and that Ward had reported Williams to human resources.

Marks said Williams alleged that other employees made racially tinged comments to him, but said his EEOC claim was dismissed and none of his allegations could be corroborated.

"We think they were fabricated," Marks said.

The following social media posts were reportedly on accounts believed to be run by Flanagan, who goes by Bryce Williams on air:

17 PHOTOS
Suspected shooter Vester Flanagan (Bryce Williams)
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Fired reporter kills 2 former co-workers on live TV
This screen shot shows the Twitter page of Bryce Williams, whose real name is Vester Lee Flanagan II, shortly after he fatally shot WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker during a live broadcast in Moneta, Va., early Wednesday morning, Aug. 26, 2015. The station said Flanagan was also an employee at WDBJ and appeared on air as Bryce Williams. (Twitter via AP)
Social media shared from a Twitter account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Twitter account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Twitter account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Twitter account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Facebook account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Facebook account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Facebook account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Facebook account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Twitter account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Twitter account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a LinkedIn account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a LinkedIn account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a LinkedIn account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a LinkedIn account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
Social media shared from a Twitter account belonging to Vester Lee Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, the suspect in the shooting of two journalists in Virginia on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.
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ABC News reported that a man claiming to be Williams called the network, saying he had just shot two people, and was faxing them a 23-page document. That document is being analyzed by investigators, Franklin County Sheriff W.Q. "Bill" Overton Jr. said at a news conference.

According to the network, the man claiming to be Flanagan says in the "suicide note" that he bought a gun two days after the Charleston, South Carolina church shootings, seeking revenge for racial discrimination, sexual harassment and workplace bullying he said he suffered as a gay black man.

"This gentleman was disturbed at the way things had turned out at some point in his life. Things were spiraling out of control," Overton said.

The shooting happened around 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County, as Parker interviewed Gardner about the upcoming 50th anniversary festivities for Smith Mountain Lake, a local tourism destination.

---

Ramsey reported from Charleston, West Virginia. Drew reported from Hardy, Virginia.



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