Posted on August 31, 2015

The Comments That Became a Reporter’s Death Sentence

Marisa Schultz and Frank Rosario, New York Post, August 28, 2015

The words are a part of everyday conversation–“swinging” by an address and going out in the “field.”

But in the twisted mind of Virginia gunman Vester Lee Flanagan II, they were pure racism–and saying them became a death sentence for Alison Parker.

The 24-year-old white reporter, who was murdered on live TV along with her cameraman, used the phrases as an intern at ­WDBJ TV in Roanoke in 2012, according to an internal complaint filed by Flanagan, who was black.

“One was something about ‘swinging’ by some place; the other was out in the ‘field,’ ” said the Jan. 21 report by assistant news director Greg Baldwin, which refers to Parker as Alison Bailey (her middle name).

Parker was never disciplined over the remarks, but Flanagan never forgot them.

Hours after gunning her and Adam Ward down during their broadcast Wednesday, Flanagan revealed in tweets that the comments were still fresh in his mind.

“Alison made racist comments,” Flanagan posted while he was on the run from cops.

“They hired her after that??” he wrote.

But colleagues said that it was all in Flanagan’s head and that Parker was as far from racist as they come.

“That’s how that guy’s mind worked. Just crazy, left-field assumptions like that,” Ryan Fuqua, a video editor at WDBJ, told The Post.


Flanagan made the accusations a month before he was fired in February 2013. The document was part of his unsuccessful discrimination lawsuit against the television station.


Flanagan assumed everything was a jab at his race, even when a manager brought in watermelon for all employees.

“Of course, he thought that was racist. He was like, ‘You’re doing that because of me.’ No, the general manager brought in watermelon for the entire news team. He’s like, ‘Nope, this is out for me. You guys are calling me out because I’m black.’ ”

Flanagan even declared that ­7-Eleven was racist because it sold watermelon-flavored Slurpees.

“It’s not a coincidence, they’re racist,” he allegedly told Fair.


Meanwhile, authorities revealed Thursday that Flanagan planned on getting away after the murders, and that suicide was a last resort.

Inside the rental car where he killed himself during a police pursuit, cops found a briefcase with three license plates, a wig, a shawl, an umbrella, sunglasses, a black hat, and a to-do list.

Cops also discovered a Glock 19 pistol with multiple magazines and ammunition, a white iPhone, several letters and notes, a “powder residue” and “bodily fluids.”