CBS DC, August 26, 2015
The alleged gunman who killed a Virginia TV reporter and cameraman during a live news report said in a 23-page manifesto faxed to ABC News that he committed the act in reaction to the racism of the church shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine black parishioners dead.
Vester Lee Flanagan II – who went by the name Bryce Williams – was a former co-worker of reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward at WDBJ-TV in Roanoke. Virginia authorities say he was the gunman who fatally shot Parker and Ward during a live news report around 6:45 a.m.
Flanagan died of a self-inflicted gun-shot wound.
Flanagan titled the document “Suicide Note for Friends and Family.”
“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15,” he wrote in the manifesto, according to ABC News. “What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”
In the manifesto, Flanagan claims he was attacked for being a gay, black man, and that he suffered racial and sexual discrimination at work.
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace,” he wrote.
The manifesto continued, “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!!!!”
Flanagan also said in the note that Virginia Techshooter, Seung Hui Cho, was “his boy” and mentioned the Columbine High School shooting.
“Also, I was influenced by Seung-Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got….just sayin,” he wrote.
Flanagan added that Jehovah told him to act.
Jeffrey Marks, WDBJ’s president and general manager, said Flanagan had to be escorted by police out of the station when he was fired. Marks described him as “an unhappy man” and “difficult to work with,” always “looking out for people to say things he could take offense to.”
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.