A young reporter and her photographer were gunned down by a former co-worker during a 6:45am live broadcast in Moneta, Virginia.
Two journalists were shot to death Wednesday morning while broadcasting live from a strip mall in Moneta, Va., near Roanoke, the police said. Video from the shooting appeared to show a television crew from WDBJ7 in Roanoke being hit by gunshots. The station confirmed that its journalists had been shot. According to WDBJ, the Roanoke affiliate of CBS, the two journalists, Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, a 27-year-old photographer, were covering a story at Bridgewater Plaza, a lakeside shopping and recreational sports plaza, when they were shot. A video of the shooting, which contains disturbing footage, was distributed online shortly after the episode. In the video, Ms. Parker is seen interviewing a woman, and then jumping back and screaming as shots ring out. Eight shots can be heard before the camera cuts back to an anchor at the station. According to The Roanoke Times, the woman being interviewed was Vicki Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce. She was shot in the back and is in surgery, the paper reported.
source: NY Times
The killer (pictured, below) has been identified as 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan II, who was a reporter at WDBJ using the alias Bryce Williams. He was fired from the station for unknown reasons in February 2013. (Update: The WDBJ general manager says the killer was a known "trouble maker" and was "difficult to work with." He adds: "After many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him and he didn't not take that well. We had to call the police to escort him out of the building.") After his identity was revealed, he tweeted "I filmed the shooting" and posted GoPro videos of the killings to his Twitter and Facebook pages (which were deactivated); he also claimed Alison made racial comments about him. In May 2014, Vester filed suit against WDBJ seeking money he felt he was owed and additional damages. His suit alleged discrimination by the station and named most of the WDBJ staff in his complaint, but in July 2014, the case was dismissed by a judge. Court records also show that he sued WTWC in Talahasse, Florida for racial discrimination after the was fired in 2009.
Here's video of the shooting as it played out on-air.
And here's a photo of the killer.
Note: We are not posting his GoPro videos because those are too disturbing.
Update: ABC News reported that it has received a fax containing a 23-page manifesto from Bryce Williams. The document has been handed over to investigators, ABC said.
Update #2: Vester, AKA Bryce committed suicide. Authorities confirm he shot and killed himself outside of Washington, DC. Good riddance. Now that two of their own have been murdered in a racially-motivated hate crime, we only hope the national media will now stop being so politically correct in their coverage.
Update #3: ABC News has released these excerpts from the killer's manifesto:
In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:
“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…”
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them."
It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.
Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “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.'"
In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family."
He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man
“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....”
“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!!!!”
Update #4: NBC is reporting that police found a wig, six magazines of ammunition, a to-do list, 17 stamped letters, a briefcase that contained three license plates, a shawl, and an umbrella in the car the murderer was fleeing in before he killed himself.