Sunday 11 December 2016

Gunman had a long history of threatening his co-workers

Gordon Rayner Virginia

Published 27/08/2015 | 02:30

Virginia State Police vehicles line the edge of Highway I-66 in Fauquier County, Virginia, where shooting suspect 41-year-old Vester Flanagan shot and wounded himself
Virginia State Police vehicles line the edge of Highway I-66 in Fauquier County, Virginia, where shooting suspect 41-year-old Vester Flanagan shot and wounded himself

Vester Lee Flanagan held grudges against both of his victims, former colleagues Alison Parker and Adam Ward, and had a long history of threatening his co-workers.

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He was sacked as a reporter by WDBJ7 TV in 2013 after his "anger" became a problem, the station's manager said, and he made wild claims about racism.

He claimed Ms Parker had "made racist comments" and Mr Ward had made a complaint to the station's HR department about him.

Flanagan (41) was born in Oakland, California, where his mother worked as a teacher. He was raised as a Jehovah's Witness and claimed to have worked as a model and a "high paid 'companion'". He took a degree in broadcast journalism at San Francisco State University and began his career at KPIX-TV in the same city in 1993. By 1997 he was working as an on-air reporter and anchor for WTWC television in Florida, using the professional name Bryce Williams. But he was fired by WTWC in 2000 for "bizarre behaviour and threatening employees", according to one source.

He sued WTWC, claiming he had suffered racial prejudice and sought more than $75,000 in damages. He also said he had suffered discrimination for being gay. His claim was settled out of court in 2001.

By 2002 he had found a way back into broadcasting as a reporter and producer for WNCT-TV in North Carolina, leaving in 2004.

Alison Parker and Adam Ward
Alison Parker and Adam Ward

His final job in television began in 2012 when he was taken on by WDBJ7 as a multimedia journalist, but less than a year later he was fired. WDBJ7's station manager, Jeffrey Marks, said: "He quickly gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with. Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well, we had to call the police to escort him from the building." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

A makeshift memorial is assembled in front of WDBJ television station in Roanoke, Virginia after two staff were shot (AP)
Police search rubbish from a skip near the apartment of Vester Lee Flanagan, in Roanoke, Virginia (AP)
A makeshift memorial is assembled in front of WDBJ television station in Roanoke, Virginia after two staff were shot (AP)
Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview in Virginia (WDBJ-TV/AP)
Vester Lee Flanagan sent 26-page fax to news station after killing
Vester Lee Flanagan sent 26-page fax to news station after killing

Telegraph.co.uk

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