Vester Flanagan, the man believed to have murdered WBDJ7 TV news reporter Alyson Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live broadcast earlier today (Wednesday, Aug. 26), reportedly left a suicide note in which he claimed he wanted to start a race war and that he was a gay man who had faced discrimination and sexual harassment when he worked at the Roanoke, Virginia TV station.
WDBJ’s website features tributes to the station’s two slain employees.
Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams as an on-air reporter for WDBJ, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound several hours after shooting his former coworkers live on air at about 6:45 a.m., EST. After the shooting, he apparently faxed a 23-page manifesto to ABC News in which he made the accusations of discrimination and harassment.
Flanagan also apparently posted a video he made of himself killing Parker and Ward to his social media accounts after the shooting.
Law enforcement officers located Flanagan in his car on I-66 in Farquier County, Virginia. He sped off but shortly afterward crashed his car, and when officers pulled him from the car they discovered he had shot himself. He died later at a hospital.
He was described in CNN reports as a “disgruntled former employee” of the TV station who was fired two years ago. He filed a complaint against the station with the EEOC, but the complaint was dismissed.
Also according to CNN, posts on Flanagan’s Twitter account today accused Parker had made racist remarks and that Ward once complained about him to WDBJ’s human resources department after the two worked together. But WDBJ7 Station Manager Jeff Marks said that Flanagan and Parker had never worked at the station at the same time.
CNN reports that court documents indicate that on the day Flanagan was fired from WDBJ, police had to be called to escort him from the building, and that Ward filmed Flanagan’s angry outburst as he was removed from the premises.
CNN reported that Flanagan had worked for several TV news stations, never staying long and more than once leaving on less-than-amiable terms. Flanagan also once sued a different former employer for discrimination. That suit was settled out of court.
In the suicide note manifesto sent to ABC News, Flanagan allegedly said he had been motivated by Dylann Roof, the white supremacist charged with murdering nine African-Americans during a Bible study in June at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, to start a race war. According to an excerpt from the manifesto posted on Breitbart.com, Flanagan wrote: “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!”
Breitbart.com also reports that Flanagan said in the fax to ABC that suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work, he has been attacked by black men and white females, and that he was attacked for being a gay, black man.