The Latest: Father: Family Is ‘Numb’ After Reporter’s Death

27 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Vester Flanagan, Suspected Virginia Gunman, Was Fired Two Years Ago, Faxed a 23-Page Manifesto Prior to Shooting.

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.

TALLAHASSEE — Fifteen years ago, before journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed in Virginia on live TV Wednesday, the man police believe shot them lived and worked in Florida’s capital city. 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. For 12 months in 1999 and 2000, Vester Flanagan — who went by the name Bryce Williams on air — was a reporter for WTWC, an NBC affiliate in Tallahassee. He anchored the news on weekends and covered local news during the week. “I’m in total shock that someone, let alone a former colleague, did this,” said Michael Walker, who was the producer of WTWC’s weekend newscast while Flanagan worked there. “I’m really just trying to process it.” Walker, who now owns a multimedia production company in Tallahassee, said he was never close friends with Flanagan. Marks described him as “an unhappy man” and always “looking out for people to say things he could take offense to.” Flanagan also claimed that Parker made racists remarks.

The suspected gunman, whose on-air name was Bryce Williams, also sent ABC News a 23-page manifesto prior to the shooting, which has since been handed over to authorities. Several other reporters and former reporters who worked at WTWC didn’t want to comment or didn’t return calls to the Times/Herald. “All they (Parker and Ward) were doing was doing their jobs.

They showed up to work not expecting that they wouldn’t come home,” Walker, a 20-year veteran of the TV news business, said. “I’m heartbroken… That could have been any number of people I know.” Flanagan was fired from WTWC in early 2000 as part of budget cuts. I was on the air when it happened and I have to say that was the last thing I thought happened — we thought it was a car backfiring,” anchor Kimberly McBroom said on-air. “This has been a nightmare.” In a statement to Entertainment Tonight, Parker’s family said: “Today we received news that no family should ever hear.

The move prompted Flanagan to file a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination by his employer, claims that would be echoed Wednesday on social media before Flanagan posted disturbing videos of the shooting and ultimately took his own life. This is senseless and our family is crushed.” Flanagan, who filmed the entire shooting and posted videos to his since-deleted social media accounts, also appears to have shot the woman that Parker was interviewing, Vicki Gardner. The Tallahassee lawsuit, filed in Leon County in February 2000, accuses WTWC of firing Flanagan as retaliation for discrimination complaints he levied against the station. In court filings, he says that he was called a “monkey” by a producer at the station and that he overheard racist comments that “blacks are lazy” and suggesting that a black murder suspect was “just another thug.” He said someone in the station’s leadership told another black employee to “stop talking ebonics.” Documents filed by the station in the lawsuit contend that Flanagan wasn’t fired in retaliation or due to race but rather because of budgetary constraints and bad behavior. They highlight “misbehavior” regarding coworkers, his refusal to follow directions, swearing at work and not responding to constructive criticism of his performance. “If it was going on, I didn’t see it,” he said. “From my experience we were a close-knit family.

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