Racist Employee Shoots Two TV Reporters
The “disgruntled employee” believed to have shot and killed two media members and wounded a third person on live television Wednesday morning has reportedly shot himself after being confronted by police along a Virginia highway.
Virginia State Police said 41-year-old Vester Lee Flanagan, who also went by the name Bryce Williams, shot himself near mile marker 17 on I-66. He is in critical condition. “Shortly before 11:30 a.m., Virginia State Police spotted the suspect vehicle headed eastbound on Interstate 66,” a police statement said. “With emergency lights activated the Virginia State Police trooper initiated a traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. The suspect vehicle refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. Minutes later, the suspect vehicle ran off the road and crashed. The troopers approached the vehicle and found the male driver suffering from a gunshot wound. He is being transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.”
Flanagan had previously served as a reporter for TV station WDBJ7 using the name Bryce Williams. A Twitter account purported to belong to Williams tweeted out what appeared to be first-person video of the shooting along with statements pointing to a motive. A Facebook account under Williams’ name posted a longer version of the video, and a statement was sent to ABC News by someone using Williams’ name. The Twitter and Facebook accounts have since been suspended and ABC News has turned the faxed document over to authorities.
In the Twitter video, a cell phone camera angle shows the shooter walking up to a reporter, interviewee and camera man and pointing a gun at them. The trio, in the midst of the interview, does not see the shooter approach or the pistol pointing at them. The shooter initially stops near the group and points the gun away. After a few seconds, he aims again and begins firing, first at reporter Alison Parker, who screams and runs as the video ends.
In the longer video posted to Facebook the sound of at least 14 gunshots can be heard. Nine shots ring out before a pause and the final shots are fired.