Reporter, Cameraman|Killed on TV in Virginia


     ROANOKE, Va. (CN) – The disgruntled reporter who killed two former co-workers during a televised broadcast Wednesday morning in Virginia is dead after turning the gun on himself.
     Vester Lee Flanagan, 41, died at Fairfax Hospital of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at 1:30 p.m., the Augusta County Sheriff’s Department confirmed.
     Flanagan had been on the run, with state and federal authorities in pursuit, after opening fire on a television news crew for CBS affiliate WDBJ-7 in Roanoke.
     Before the station cut back to its studio, it broadcast reporter Alison Parker falling to the sounds of screams and six or seven gunshots.
     Parker, 24, and 27-year-old cameraman Adam Ward were killed. Vicki Gardner, a Chamber of Commerce official Parker had been interviewing, was hospitalized with gunshot wounds. She came out of surgery Wednesday afternoon and is in stable condition.
     WDBJ-7 fired Flanagan two years ago. The gunman used to report for the outlet under the pseudonym Bryce Williams.
     Before Twitter took his account down, Flanagan live-Tweeted the 6:45 a.m. shooting. Using his stage name, Flanagan described a vendetta against the reporters that began when Parker supposedly made racist comments and Ward reported him to human resources. Flanagan was black.
     “I filmed the shooting see Facebook,” the last post states.
     The New York Daily News uploaded a copy of Flanagan’s footage, which captures the gunman calling Parker a “bitch” as he opens fire.
     After fleeing in a 2009 Ford Mustang, Flanagan switched from that vehicle at the Roanoke Regional Airport to a Chevrolet Sonic he had rented this month, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said.
     Virginia had put schools on lockdown and closed some roads as federal agents joined local and state police in chasing Flanagan north on I-81.
     With Sheriff Pam Neff on his tail, Flanagan merged onto I-66 in Fauquier County, shot himself and crashed into a median.
     WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks described Flanagan as an “unhappy man,” noting that the reporter had not left the station on good terms.
     “He was looking for people to say things he could take offense to,” Marks said.
     An internal investigation concluded that Flanagan’s allegations against co-workers under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were unfounded, Marks added.
     In January 2001, Flanagan settled similar racial-discrimination claims against former employer WTWC of Tallahassee, Fla.
     Parker, a Virginia native, graduated from James Madison University in 2012.
     WDBJ anchorman Chris Hurst posted to Twitter just after the shooting that he and Parker had “just moved in together” and were planning to marry.
     “I am numb,” Hurst tweeted. “@AParkerWDBJ7 and I were very much in love.”
     Authorities have not yet determined Flanagan’s motive, nor would they comment on the racial allegations in Flanagan’s Tweets.
     Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton said that “things were spiraling out of control” for the former WDBJ employee.
     Overton said police are reviewing a 23-page manifesto that a person identifying himself as Bryce Williams faxed to ABC News late Tuesday night.
     The content of the fax has not been released.
     The Virginia State Police and Franklin County Sheriff’s Department will continue investigating how Flanagan knew the location for the shooting.
     Sheriff Neff relied on a license plate reader to identify the shooter.

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