Everything we know about VA shooter Bryce Williams
Wednesday afternoon, Vester L. Flanagan II — also known Bryce Williams — died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, after allegedly shooting two WDBJ-TV journalists — on-air reporter Alison Parker and her photographer Adam Ward.
As friends, family and colleagues grapple with the unforeseeable tragedy that took the lives of reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward, the two prevailing questions continue to be, “Who is Bryce Williams?” and “Why did he do this?”
Below is a checklist of what has emerged about the suspected gunman.
- At 6:45 a.m Wednesday, during a live broadcast, a piece on tourism was interrupted when viewers saw the camera fall to the ground and heard gunshots.
- The gunman was believed to be Bryce Willaims.
- Williams began his career as a news intern at KPIX-TV in 1993.
- His television career came to a standstill in March 2000, when he was fired from his job at WTWC TV in Florida for “bizarre behaviour and threatening employees.”
- He has a history of making claims of racism and threatening his co-workers.
- WDBJ7 hired him in 2012 as a multimedia journalist.
- In 2013, he was fired because his anger was becoming a problem. “Two years ago, we had to separate him from the company. We did understand that he was still living in the area,” WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks said.
- After the shooting, Williams claimed on his Twitter feed that reporter Alison Parker had “made racist comments” and that photojournalist Adam Ward had made a complaint to the station’s human resources department.
- It has been speculated that Williams’ grudge against his two former colleagues may have been a motivating factor in the shootings.
- According to federal officials and the Augusta County Sheriff’s Department, his cell phone was tracked to locate him.
- ABC News says Williams called them weeks ago, saying he wanted to pitch a story and needed their fax information.
- Two hours after the shooting, at 8:26 a.m., ABC News received a 23-page fax from Flanagan, which it passed on to police.
- A little after 10a.m., the suspect called the station, introduced himself as Bryce, said that his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and admitted that he shot two people earlier that morning.
- In the fax sent to the station, Williams writes that the murders he committed were his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting.
- In what he calls “Suicide Note for Friends and Family,” he says he had endured racial discrimination, sexual harassment and ongoing bullying for being a gay, black man.
- Virginia state police spotted the suspect just before 11:30a.m
- Sheriff Bill Overton told reporters he died Wednesday afternoon of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
- Williams’ mental health has come into question, with Virginia’s governor Terry McAuliffe saying, “There are certain people who should not be entitled to a firearm.”