Father of slain WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker says he may get gun after …

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Despite volatility, on-air rampage difficult to predict.

ROANOKE, Va. The husband of the sole survivor of the Virginia shooting which killed WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live television report has come forward to tell her story.The man who was news director during Vester Flanagan’s rocky tenure at Virginia station WDBJ-TV described him as someone who constantly saw himself being victimised by others.

Roanoke police had direct contact with on-air shooting gunman Vester Flanagan at least twice after escorting him from the WDBJ-TV station following his firing in February 2013. Local commerce representative Vicki Gardner was giving an interview to Parker and Ward at the Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Virigina at about 6.45am Wednesday when Vester Lee Flanagan approached the trio and opened fire. “We would say still like, ‘The reporter is out in the field,’ and he would look at us and say, ‘What are you saying, cotton fields? Dan Dennison described Flanagan, who shot and killed a reporter and a cameraman on live television last Wednesday, as a “professional victim” during his time at the station before being fired in 2013. “He was victimised by everything and everyone and could never quite grasp the fact that he was the common denominator in all of these really sometimes serious interpersonal conflicts that he had with people,” Dennison said.

His hair-trigger temper directed at a random collection of people he encountered never seemed to stray into the type of violent behavior that would have put him on the radar of police or mental health professionals. — The woman who survived the on-air shooting that killed two TV journalists says she never saw the gunman walk up to the group because the camera’s bright light blinded her. Department spokesman Scott Leamon said Friday officers went to Flanagan’s apartment about a year later at the request of a friend in Atlanta who feared for his well-being. Flanagan, 41, interpreted efforts by the station to improve his performance and persuade him to work more cooperatively with colleagues as discrimination, said Dennison, who now works as a communications manager at the Hawaii state Department of Land and Natural Resources. On the day he was fired, Flanagan pressed a wooden cross into Dennison’s hand and said, “You’ll need this,” as two police officers escorted him out.

Last December, police questioned Flanagan after he asked his bank to refund money he said had been withdrawn from his account through unauthorized ATM transactions. Flanagan closely identified with perpetrators of domestic mass murder and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, authorities said, but he apparently acted alone and did not appear to share his plans for the attack with anyone. The fresh details in the horrific shooting emerged Friday after the sheriff’s office, Virginia State Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the FBI spent 48 hours combing through documents and evidence recovered from Flanagan’s apartment and interviewing many of his friends, family members and former colleagues. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who represents Roanoke. “I guarantee you, somebody’s got an answer to this and I’m going to find out about it and make it happen,” he said. A former co-worker at a UnitedHealthcare call centre where Flanagan worked until late 2014 said he tried to grab her shoulder and told her never to speak to him again after she offhandedly said he was unusually quiet.

Flanagan, 41, a disgruntled former reporter at WDBJ7 in Roanoke, shot Parker, Ward and an official from a local chamber of commerce whom they were interviewing during a broadcast about 6:45 a.m. The manager of a bar in Roanoke said Flanagan was so incensed when no one thanked him for his business as he left the tavern that he sent a nearly 20-page letter, lambasting employees’ behaviour. The first four shots were aimed at Parker, and two more were aimed at Ward, Gardner’s husband Tim said in a telephone interview from the hospital where she is recovering. Leamon says the police department will conduct a review of its dealings with Flanagan in response to his fatal shooting Wednesday of two WDBJ journalists.

She (Alison) was one of you guys and you’ve got a voice.” He called for politicians to require more stringent background checks, and said those who don’t should be required to explain why they’d oppose “reasonable proposals.” The Virginia legislature in January rejected several gun control bills supported by McAuliffe, which would have barred misdemeanor domestic violence offenders and child support deadbeats from buying guns. “In my opinion, it is important for the families, the WDBJ employees and our community to grieve, console and heal,” Bowers said in an email. “Thus, I choose not to take advantage of these unfortunate circumstances, nor say or do anything that might cause conflict or antagonism.” Parker spoke in front of a makeshift memorial of balloons and flowers, where residents from around the Roanoke region had come since the shooting to pay respect to the victims. On Wednesday, after killing Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, he went online to claim they had wronged him in the past through sexual and racial discrimination. Gloria Davis, 69, of Salem, Va., a retired child services employee who’d dealt with parents angry about having their children put under protective custody, arrived earlier to say a prayer for the reporter and cameraman she’d watched most mornings on television.

That’s racist”.’ “The watermelon would appear, then disappear, then appear and disappear, then appear and disappear again only to appear again,” he wrote in a May 2014 letter to presiding Judge Francis Burkart. In his last hours before shooting himself to death, Flanagan — using his on-air name, Bryce Williams — posted a grisly video of himself killing Parker and Wade and sent a series of tweets complaining about the two, who often worked together on the station’s morning show. After Flanagan wrecked his vehicle on Interstate 66 and shot himself, a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigator ran a Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles record on Flanagan to identify his address. Parker’s boyfriend, WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst, said Parker went on an assignment with Flanagan when she was an intern and innocently remarked that her friend lived on “Cotton Hill Road.” Flanagan accused her of making a racist remark, something he apparently did often. “She did not really know what he was upset about, specifically.

He says that after the attack, Vicki Gardner got up and walked to the ambulance after being shot, and she didn’t know the extent of her injuries at that point. Roy Frame, a manager at Roanoke Firearms a few blocks from the station, said the mental health component of Virginia’s background check only reports people who were voluntarily or involuntarily committed for a mental health reason. He adds: “But the surgeon told me that a couple of centimetres and she wouldn’t be walking, and a couple of centimetres more and she wouldn’t be alive.” Frame said he could see the benefit of some kind of licensing requirements, but that he’d worry about restrictions that would bar customers he has helped, such as an elderly veteran or battered women who need to protect themselves.

The 50 or so workers have been described as a close-knit group, and they have continued reporting on their slain colleagues in the face of the tragedy. “There are too many guns in America and there are clearly too many guns in the wrong hands,” the governor said. Parker’s boyfriend, not yet ready to take a stance on gun laws because he is a journalist, instead remembered the couple’s whitewater kayaking trip just one week ago. “We went past a special place on the river where she turned to me and she said, ‘Chris, this is where I want to get married. There was a to-do list, 17 stamped letters, a wig, three license plates and ammunition, according to a search warrant filed in a Fauquier County court. Video obtained by NBC News shows a sparsely decorated apartment and a refrigerator plastered with photos of himself, including old class pictures and modeling shots that he also posted on social media. Police say Flanagan was not wearing body armor when he was apprehended, but they are still investigating whether we was wearing any protective clothing during the shooting.

Andy Parker said outside of WDBJ-TV on Friday that he supports stronger gun laws and says people at gun shows should have to a background check before they can make purchases. Sichel said Adam Lanza, who killed 27 people, including 20 students at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, fit the profile. Adam Henning, news director at WAFF-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, said he declined to hire Flanagan in 2011 after checking with people Henning knew at least one other station where Flanagan had worked. Chris Hurst, a WDBJ-TV anchor who was Parker’s boyfriend, said he and his colleagues wondered in hindsight if there wasn’t more they could have done for Flanagan “to extend him love.” “But he needed, at the time, to be pushed away, because he was not someone who was helping our station and helping our newsroom,” Hurst said. “But I wonder if I had said the right combination of words to him whether that might have tried to light a spark of change.” Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama. Associated Press writers Larry O’Dell in Richmond, Virginia; Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Mississippi; and Allen Breed in Roanoke contributed to this report.

Mikey Monaghan and her husband, Patrick, say they had reservations about going to CJ’s Coffee and Sandwich Shop on Friday morning because they wanted to be respectful. The shopping center is right on the lake, and DiGiorgi noted that Gardner, who was shot in the back and is in good condition at a hospital, works right nearby.

Businesses are reopening in Virginia at the scene of this week’s on-air shooting as more details surface of the gunman’s long history of confronting and bullying co-workers at a succession of television and customer-service jobs.

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