Suspect in television news shootings dies

The man suspected of killing two television journalists in Virginia has died after shooting himself.

Vester Lee Flanagan was pronounced dead at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia, according to the Washington Post. it cited comments by Brian Moran, Virginia's public safety secretary.

Flanagan is suspected of killing WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, as the two reporters were broadcasting live at about 6:45 a.m. He is also suspected of filming the shootings and posting the video on social media. 

Flanagan is a former broadcaster for WDBJ7 who worked on air under the name Bryce Williams. A Twitter account under that name was suspended after it posted video of the killings. 



Footage of the shooting aired live during the channel’s morning news broadcast.

An assailant approached the two journalists and fired in their direction as many as eight times.

A third victim, Vicki Gardner, was also shot while she was being interviewed by the two reporters. She is reportedly in stable condition after undergoing surgery.

Images of the shooter could be seen from the film taken by Ward. 


Later on Wednesday morning, footage from the shooter’s perspective was posted on Twitter along with a series of messages that could suggest possible motives in the killings.

The video footage shows an unidentified individual approaching Parker and Ward while they interview Vicki Gardner, the director of the local chamber of commerce.

The individual then pulls out a handgun, aiming the weapon at Parker while she is distracted by talking with Gardner.

The shooter then opens fire as Parker seemingly flees and multiple screams are heard in the background.

The footage was posted on a Twitter account in the name of Williams.

WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks, speaking live on the local station, described Flanagan as a disgruntled employee who had been dismissed. After Flanagan was fired, he was escorted out of the building by police, Marks said.  

“Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well," Marks added. "We had to call police to escort him from the building. He then filed an action with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission”

He said Flanagan had made complaints about staff at the station making "racial comments" that could not be corroborated. He said the station had interviewed staff and that no proof of Flanagan's complaints could be found. 

This story was updated at 2:11 p.m.