Former co-workers say Vester Flanagan had problems with work, anger, racism

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dad of Slain Reporter Says Way Must Be Found to ‘Reasonable’ Gun Laws.

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. The father of a young Virginia television journalist fatally shot by a former co-worker Wednesday visited colleagues at her television station Friday and again called for “reasonable” gun control. “Each time you think there’s a tipping point, with Sandy Hook or Aurora, nothing gets done,” Andy Parker said, referring to mass shootings at a Connecticut school and a Colorado movie theater.

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. Parker’s daughter, Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were fatally shot on live television by Vester Lee Flanagan II, who was fired from the station where they worked in 2013, police said. On Wednesday, Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake chamber of commerce, was being interviewed by Parker and Ward when Flanagan shot all three, killing Parker and Ward and injuring Gardner.

Last December, police questioned Flanagan after he asked his bank to refund money he said had been withdrawn from his account through unauthorized ATM transactions. He said meeting the people that loved and worked with his daughter was “profoundly difficult.” Flanagan legally bout the Glock handgun that he used to kill the two journalists.

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. WDBJ-TV anchor Chris Hurst says he gave Parker a black onyx ring with some diamonds for her birthday and told her they would save up for an engagement ring and be together forever. “‘You need to go to bed,'” she texted. “And she sent me some kisses, and emoji, and said, ‘Good night, sweet boy’ at 3:26 a.m. Parker said there were signs Flanagan was “disturbed.” He had a reputation as an unstable co-worker and had to be physically lifted from his chair when he was fired by the station. The standard under federal law relating to mental health and guns is high, and requires a person being “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “committed to a mental institution.” “There are warning signs out there that reasonable people can take a look at and say, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a problem here,'” Parker said. “When there are warning signs … there’s got to be a reasonable way to do this,” he said. The affidavit also says Dave Seidel, who is the assignment editor at WDBJ, told Virginia State Police that the gunman was Flanagan after reviewing video of the shooting, which occurred live on television.

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. Tim Gardner said Friday that his wife Vicki told him a bright light from Adam Ward’s video camera prevented her from seeing Vester Flanagan walk up behind Ward and WDBJ-TV reporter Alison Parker. More comprehensive background checks are “not going to stop all violence,” McAuliffe said Friday. “The point is; are we doing everything we possibly can to keep our communities as safe as possible?” Family and friends will hold a “celebration of life” on Monday, Parker said. At some point her ashes will be taken to waterfalls in the Nantahala River in North Carolina, which was a favorite spot — and where she imagined being wed to her boyfriend, Chris Hurst. “She loved it down there. Investigators believe Flanagan acted alone and shared his plans with no one, and he left no indication of what his plans were after he fled the shooting scene.

When the survivor of the on-air TV shooting awoke from surgery Thursday, her first communication with her family was concern for the families of the two slain journalists. A coffee shop at the plaza where two journalists were killed during a live broadcast has become the shopping center’s first business to reopen its doors after the attack. 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.

Shafer recalled Flanagan as a good reporter and a “clever, funny guy” — but said he also had conflicts with co-workers “to the point where he was threatening people.”

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