Fired Reporter Who Killed Former Coworkers On Live TV Admired Columbine Shooters

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Documents Show Virginia Shooting Suspect’s Turbulent Tenure at TV Station.

They were both early in their careers, in a business that’s really tough to get into, no doubt proud of what they had done so far and full of hope for what lay ahead. MONETA, Va. (WJZ) — A live interview on a Virginia television station ends in horror when a former employee guns down a reporter and photographer in cold blood.

In a way—a twisted and evil way, to be sure—the live on-air murders of WDBJ Channel 7 reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward on Wednesday morning, along with the wounding of local chamber of commerce official Vicki Gardner, amounted to former journalist Vester Lee Flanagan’s final television news package. “That’s exactly right,” said CNN veteran Frank Sesno, professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. “It’s the nightmare of a disgruntled employee with a gun, magnified by a camera and social media…The guy captured the whole thing and put it on social media, and made it his last will and testament and confessional.” The toxic mixture of real-time mayhem and mass media is hardly a new phenomenon; there was, for instance, the 1974 live in-studio suicide by gunshot of troubled Sarasota, Fla., anchor Christine Chubbuck, and the 1987 on-camera suicide at a packed press conference—again, by gunshot—of scandal-plagued Pennsylvania state treasurer Budd Dwyer.Alison Parker was doing an interview at a shopping mall when she turned to find former workmate Vester Lee Flanagan – known professionally as Bryce Williams – pointing a gun at her.OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The longtime Oakland neighbor of a gunman who shot and killed a TV reporter and cameraman during a live news broadcast in Virginia Wednesday said he’s in complete shock over the news.

I’ve had people shout abuse during crosses, toot horns, throw things — even swing a punch (stopped by a cameraman with lightening reflexes) And then there are the creatures with room temperature IQ who think it’s amusing to assault reporters -usually female ones — with the words “F*** her in the p…..” For them, there should be a special place in hell. In court documents filed by WTWC in response to Flanagan’s lawsuit, the station denied any kind of discrimination, citing poor performance, misbehavior with regards to co-workers, failure to respond to corrective recommendations on his performance, refusal to follow directions, use of profanity and budgetary reasons. While those infamous incidents of the past were tragic, seemingly desperate, acts of self-loathing, the recent grisly beheading videos distributed by the Islamic State—and presented, creepily enough, with glossy production values and musical accompaniment—are somewhere on a similar continuum with a compelling video press release, perhaps the most extreme yet calculated iteration of cinematic story-telling skills.

Flanagan later posted his own footage online, showing his steps as he approached his victims at 6.45am at Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, Franklin County, Virginia. The reasons why it happened will be come clearer perhaps, but what’s already blindingly obvious is that is what happens all too often in a place where guns are too readily available. Flanagan’s arrival at WDBJ, a television station in Roanoke, Va., station executives and rank-and-file employees were deeply concerned about his conduct. Flanagan, a 41-year-old former local TV reporter—who went by the on-camera moniker “Bryce Williams” during his brief, unhappy employment at the Roanoke, Virginia, CBS affiliate, from which he was dismissed two years ago after multiple incidents of workplace rage—was arguably taking his cue from the Islamic State, practicing a perverted form of personal journalism when he fired a handgun at his victims as the station’s camera transmitted the horrific images to shocked viewers. “For the disturbed people who want to use images to disrupt or terrorize others, they have a very easy task now, and that ability and technology is in everybody’s hands.” More to the point, Flanagan was wearing his own body-cam, with which he filmed point-of-view video of his cold-blooded act, and after fleeing the scene in the waterside town of Moneta, posted visual documentation of the carnage on Twitter and Facebook, along with disturbingly matter-of-fact commentary—apparently using his cell phone. But in the back of our minds will be a question: while I’m talking to you, thinking of the words I need to say to get this story across to you at this very moment .

In a fax believed to be sent Wednesday morning by Flanagan to ABC News, Flanagan reportedly stated: “I’ve been a human powder keg for a while, just waiting to go BOOM!!!!” The social media sites quickly removed Flanagan’s posted “reports,” although not before images from the terrible POV video were widely circulated on various news sites. Shortly after 10 a.m., Flanagan called ABC and acknowledged in a brief phone conversation that he’d murdered two people, and that the authorities were “after me” and “all over the place,” according to an account by ABC News reporters Pierre Thomas and Jack Cloherty. While TV outlets exercised restraint in not endlessly showing of video of the on-air shootings, that video—with its soundtrack of screams—was easily available online. I feel sorry for you?’” he said. “She’s dealing the tragedy of other people getting shot and her brother shooting himself.” Flanagan, who went by his on-air name Bryce Williams, was described as a disgruntled former employee who had been fired from WDBJ in 2013.

Sesno, however, pointed out that unlike the Islamic State—which has successfully used violent video as a recruiting tool—Flanagan’s video package was the work “of a lone and disgruntled, horribly disturbed human being who did it as a last act of revenge.” Not surprisingly, Flanagan’s crimes struck a raw nerve with people in the news biz; some of the cable anchors during Wednesday’s wall-to-wall coverage looked stricken, visibly struggling not to lose it. Flanagan in a memorandum, “resulted in one or more of your co-workers feeling threatened or uncomfortable,” the documents showed. “We want you to work on the tone of your interpersonal relationships and exercise great care in dealing with stressful situations or disagreements and your response to them,” the executive, Dan Dennison, wrote. “You need to always work as a member of a collaborative team and allow your teammates to do their jobs and not assume that you alone are concerned with high quality standards.” At the time, Mr.

And yet, the news team at the grief-stricken home station of the 24-year-old Parker and 27-year-old Ward managed to keep their composure, and admirably displayed their professionalism, as they covered every aspect of the fast-moving story. He added: “He was the kind of guy, if he was on his way home from work and heard about something breaking, he would turn around and go do it.” He said: “He was looking out for people to say something he could take offence to. Flanagan to contact the company’s employee assistance program. “We will continue assisting you with your professional growth and development,” Mr. Dennison wrote a memorandum that detailed what he described as “recent examples of lack of thorough reporting, poor on-air performance or time management issues.” As the winter wore on, station officials decided to fire Mr. Flanagan wrote to a judge in Roanoke and said that his experiences at the station were “nothing short of vile, disgusting and inexcusable,” and he demanded that a jury of African-American women hear a civil lawsuit against the station.

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