Virginia gunman described himself as 'human powder keg'

Due to his aggressive and unstable behaviour, Vester Lee Flanagan, who shot himself during a police chase after killing Alison Parker and Adam Ward live on air, was fired from his job where he worked with the victims

Washington: The man who shot TV reporter Alison Parker along with her colleague cameraman Adam Ward live on air was one of their ex-colleagues who was fired from the news station due to “poor performance.”

Killed for what? Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot dead during a live broadcast watched by 40,000 people in Moneta, Virginia, while in the middle of an interview on Wednesday. Pics/AFP
Killed for what? Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot dead during a live broadcast watched by 40,000 people in Moneta, Virginia, while in the middle of an interview on Wednesday. Pics/AFP

Following the shooting, Flanagan was pursued by police and shot himself.

Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams when reporting, was fired by the station after years of poor performance during which he became aggressive towards fellow colleagues and "always sought to play the race card".

23-page suicide note
Following the attack, he posted films of the shooting and faxed a 23-page ‘manifesto’ to ABC News seemingly detailing his reasons behind the killing and expressing admiration for other mass shooters — such as the Virginia Tech killer, Seung-Hui Cho. In one of his tweets, he wrote that he was angry at Ward for reporting him to HR when the pair had only worked together once, but these new reports suggest another possible motive for the slaying.

Human powder keg
The fax stated that he was a "human powder keg". The channel received a 23-page fax detailing his motivations for the attack. In the fax, which the writer referred to as a 'Suicide Note for Friends and Family,' he said that he was enraged by the racially-motivated shooting at a Charleston church this past June that killed nine black churchgoers. The fax also claimed that his colleagues had discriminated against him for being black and gay.

"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!!!" the fax read.

Flanagan’s family apologised to the victims, telling reporters his actions were "a shock to everyone".

Station manager Jeff Marks said that Flanagan was an "unhappy man" who had to be escorted from the WDBJ7 building after being dismissed in 2013.

Flanagan’s history
Flanagan was hired by WDBJ7 in March 2012 and was known on air by his professional name, Bryce Williams. Within a few weeks, colleagues were complaining of “feeling threatened or uncomfortable” while working with him.

Accused: Vester Lee Flanagan
Accused: Vester Lee Flanagan

The memos, relesed by the company to the cops for investigation, highlighted “heated confrontations” with camera operators and producers in front of guests while covering stories.

By July 2012, the firm was requiring him to contact the Health Advocate, the staff assistance programme, or face being sacked. The company says when Flanagan was fired, he had to be escorted from the building by police "because he was not going to leave willingly or under his own free will".

Obama worried over gun culture

A day after the incident, US President Barack Obama expressed concern over the gun culture in the country saying, the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around the country “dwarfs” any deaths that happen through terrorism. “It breaks my heart every time you read or hear about these kids of incidents,” Obama said. “What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism,” he said.

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