On Wednesday morning at approximately 6:45 am Eastern, 24-year old WDBJ TV reporter Alison Parker and 27-year old cameraman Adam Ward were gunned down in Moneta, Virginia live on air as Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner about tourism in the area. Parker and Ward both died. Gardner, who was shot in the back, is being treated at a local hospital.
The suspect has been identified as 41-year old Vester Lee Flanagan, who on-air went by the name Bryce Williams. Flanagan, a black man, has claimed racism in the past about a former employer and he made similar allegations on Wednesday about Parker.
In 2000, Flanagan sued his previous employer WTWC-TV, a North Florida TV station, claiming that his boss had called him a monkey. Flanagan settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum. After the shooting Wednesday morning, as he was being pursued by police, Flanagan took to Twitter and again made allegations of racism against Parker claiming that she had made a racist remark about him.
He also claimed that Ward had gone to HR about him after working with him once.
Flanagan allegedly not only filmed himself shooting Ward and Parker, he also posted the video on social media after the incident. Both Twitter and Facebook have taken down his accounts.
Talking to FOX News, WDBJ President and General Manager Jeffrey Marks was asked about a description he had given about Flanagan as someone who was difficult to work with. FOX News’ Jenna Lee asked him to tell them a little bit about Flanagan’s time at the station. While being sure to state that no one had been charged or given due process, he did say that, regarding Flanagan, “It would be fair to say that others witnessed anger.”
According to FOX News, there had been numerous complaints about Flanagan by co-workers. When he was released from the station, his bosses was afraid he might get violent. They cleared the news room when they decided it was time to let him go and called the police to escort him out.
Flanagan shot himself on I-66. Though he was originally said to have died, police said that he was still alive, but was in very critical condition.
In playing the victim himself and making Parker and Ward out to be the bad people with the accusations he has leveled, does Flanagan believe that gave him the right to murder them in cold blood? The real victims of this senseless act, Alison Parker and Adam Ward, are unable to defend themselves because their lives were taken away from them in an instant.
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The video of the horrific shooting, done live and on-air, is too graphic to post. However, there is another video circulating that ends just prior to the gun being fired. In this video, although it is at a whisper, you can hear who is believed to be Flanagan whisper “Bitch” just before Alison Parker was shot dead.
WARNING: Disturbing moments just before Alison Parker was shot.
UPDATE: Vester Lee Flanagan, the suspect in the on-air murder of Alison Parker and Adam Ward, has reportedly died from his self-inflicted wounds,
h/t Daily Mail
This story has been updated.