ROANOKE (WPRI) – Hours after a television news reporter and photographer were gunned down during a live on-air report, the suspected gunman posted on Twitter video of the shooting, as well as thoughts about the victims. He also reportedly faxed a letter to a national news outlet – detailing why he did what he did.
The videos and comments appeared on @bryce_williams7’s now suspended Twitter account – which was the on-air name Vester Flanagan used during his career as a TV reporter.
The video clips showed the shooter approach reporter Alison Parker and her photojournalist Adam Ward as they interviewed a Chamber of Commerce representative live on the air during a morning newscast.
The trio seemed unaware of gunman’s presence, even as he pointed a weapon at them. It was only when he began to fire the gun they realized he was there, but by then it was too late.
Around 11 a.m. – as the manhunt for the gunman continued – Tweets appeared on Flanagan’s page, which has since been deactivated.
In it, he said the Charleston church shooting in June sent him over the edge.
“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them,“ he continued. “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!”
According the ABC News, the letter details a long list of grievances, including suffering racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work. He claimed he had been attacked by black men and white females and that he was attacked for being a gay, black man.
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….”
“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily…I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”.