The Latest: Father of slain reporter says he will buy gun

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alison Parker and Adam Ward were shot dead during a live TV broadcast in Virginia on Wednesday by a disgruntled former co-worker who was fired two years ago..

The lone escapee from the attack that left a Virginia television reporter and cameraman dead made her silent entreaties while lying on the ground as the killer continued shooting.

Vicki Gardner, executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was being interviewed by Parker at the time of the incident, but miraculously survived the incident.The gunman who murdered two journalists on live TV lived in a dark, sparsely decorated $650-a-month apartment — but his lair was anything but modest.

Vicki’s husband Tim Gardner has revealed she saved herself by curling up into a ball as the gunman blasted her leading to her losing a kidney and part of her colon. — Vester Flanagan constantly saw himself as the target in his conflicts with WDBJ-TV colleagues, leading his former boss to describe him as a “professional victim.” “He was victimized 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,” said Dan Dennison, the former news director at WDBJ in Virginia. Cluttered with sex toys and decorated with glamour shots from his days as a model, vainglorious killer Vester Lee Flanagan’s Roanoke, Va., one-bedroom apartment had nothing but the most basic home furnishings when police raided the near empty abode Thursday, video obtained by the Telegraph showed. In an interview on US television Mr Gardner said madman Vester Lee Flanagan II turned the gun on his tourism executive wife Vicki after shooting reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

On the day he was fired in 2013, Flanagan pressed a wooden cross into Dennison’s hand and said, “You’ll need this,” as two police officers escorted him out. Inside the subcompact four-door sedan — a far cry from his usual ride, a 2009 Ford Mustang — police found a wig, a black hat, a shawl, sunglasses and a to-do list.

And he said medics warned him his wife is lucky she will be able to walk out of hospital after the bullets fired by the lone attacker almost let to her total paralysis. “I don’t think she ever felt like she was in danger after she got up and walked to the ambulance after being shot, but she didn’t know the extent of her injuries at that point, but the surgeon told me that a couple of centimeters and she wouldn’t be walking and a couple of centimeters more and she wouldn’t be alive.” Don Shafer, who had previously worked with Flanagan at WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida, in 1999, said he had previously had a number of conflicts with co-workers. What police did with the information isn’t spelled out, but the text would have given them Flanagan’s cell phone number, and with it they could have tracked his signal. Investigators believe Flanagan had a specific location he was going to following the shooting, but they’re still investigating where, according to Lt. In a manifesto Flanagan sent to ABC News just before the Wednesday killings, the 41-year-old claimed he once killed his cats because of “nasty racist things” his WDBJ coworkers said, but it is not clear if he did so in the apartment.

Details on the double murder were released Friday by the Virginia Medical Examiner, two days after Parker and Ward were gunned down by Flanagan — who was fired two years earlier from WDBJ-TV. Authorities are looking at whether Flanagan used the belongings found in his car to disguise himself before the shootings or as part of a potential getaway plan.

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. Investigators also found dozens of scented tea light candles next to the bathroom sink and a collection of sex toys that had “human material” on them. He talked about his support for universal background checks for gun purchases and said “there are too many guns in America and there are clearly too many guns in the wrong hands.” But McAuliffe, himself a gun owner, also said Flanagan had passed a background check.

Video later posted to social media sites belonging to Flanagan shows the gunman approaching Parker and photographer Ward as the reporter conducted a routine interview for a local story. A former co-worker at a UnitedHealthcare call center 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. 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’ behavior. “How heartless can you be? He contacted ABC News about what he claimed was a story tip and filled his Facebook page with photos and video montages seemingly designed to introduce himself to a larger audience. On Thursday, the station’s general manager, Jeffrey Marks, recalled a series of problems with Flanagan while he worked at WDBJ from March 2012 to February 2013.

There, he had run-ins with co-workers and was a poor performer, leading his bosses to refer him to the company’s employee assistance program. “We made it mandatory that he seek help from our employee assistance program. Before police walked him out of the building, Flanagan handed his manager a small wooden cross and said, “You’ll need this.” • Earlier this summer, Flanagan was involved in a road rage incident. Heather Fay, general manager of Jack Brown’s Beer & Burger Joint in downtown Roanoke, said she threw out a lengthy letter Flanagan had sent, criticizing the staff for telling customers to “have a nice day” instead of “thank you.” Flanagan’s interpersonal conflicts were at odds with the outgoing student some recalled in Oakland, California, where he was chosen junior prince at Skyline High School’s homecoming. He cited seemingly innocuous comments as discriminatory, such as “an intern asking where I would ‘swing by’ for lunch.” “The average person would not perceive those everyday comments as insulting or injustices,” said Mary Ellen O’Toole, a former FBI profiler. “But clearly, he does.

At San Francisco State University, Flanagan relished being in the spotlight during group presentations. “He was such a nice guy, just a soft-spoken, well-dressed, good-looking guy. Associated Press reporters Matthew Barakat, Jonathan Drew, Alan Suderman, John Raby and David Dishneau in Roanoke, Virginia; Larry O’Dell in Richmond, Virginia; Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu; Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Mississippi; Terry Chea in Vallejo, California; Garance Burke in Oakland, California; Julie Watson in San Diego and researcher Jennifer Farrar in New York contributed to this story.

Parker told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday night he will honor his daughter’s memory by lobbying for laws that will make it harder for the mentally ill to purchase firearms. Police recovered two guns from Flanagan, Glock 9 mm pistols he purchased legally. “After Sandy Hook (the school), and the theater shootings, everybody thought, gosh this is terrible,” he said. “We have got to do something to keep people that are mentally disturbed, we got to keep them away from guns and having the ability to get guns.” CNN’s Elliot C.

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