CaribbeanFever / FeverEyes / CaribFever
Caribbean Fever - Your ONLY destination to all things Caribbean and more
Disgruntled TV reporter murders colleagues live on air then posts killer's-eye-view video on TWITTER
The cameraman shot dead on live TV yesterday alongside a reporter had allegedly filmed his killer getting fired from the TV station where they worked two years ago, as it is revealed the shooter also tried to subpoena personal files on both of his victims.
Adam Ward, 27, was shot dead during a live broadcast watched by 40,000 people on WDBJ-TV yesterday in Moneta, Virginia, alongside reporter Alison Parker, 24, while in the middle of an interview with local Vicki Gardner who was also shot, but survived.
Killer Vester Flanagan used to work at same the TV station until he was fired in 2013, and now it had emerged that Ward captured that sacking on tape, including the moment Flanagan was escorted out of the building by police after refusing to leave.
Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams when reporting, was fired by the station after years of poor performance during which he became aggressive towards fellow colleagues and 'always sought to play the race card', it has been claimed.
Yesterday Flanagan had tweeted that he was angry at Ward for reporting him to HR when the pair had only worked together once, but these new reports suggest another possible motive for the slaying.
Scroll down for video
Adam Ward, 27, the WDBJ cameraman murdered on live TV yesterday morning, filmed killer Vester Flanagan when he was fired from the station in 2013 and escorted out of the building by police, it has been reported
Flanagan, who shot and killed Ward alongside reporter Alison Parker, 24, used to work as a general reporter at the same station under the name Bryce Williams until 2013 when he was fired for under-performing, though he blamed his sacking on racial discrimination
Shocked WDBJ viewers watching live yesterday morning at 6.45am when Parker (pictured left and right in red) was shot dead alongside Ward (left in shorts) while the pair the middle of interviewing local Vicki Gardner (left, in white) who was also shot but survived
Flanagan had to be escorted out of the WDBJ headquarters when he was fired in 2013 after allegedly becoming aggressive and refusing to leave, an incident which was caught on film by Ward, it is claimed (pictured, Flanagan takes aim at Ward on live TV)
Parker and Ward both died at the scene of the shooting while Flanagan fled before eventually shooting himself behind the wheel. He survived for several hours after being apprehended, but later died in hospital
According to the Huffington Post, Flanagan saw Ward making the video, told him to 'lose your big gut' and then flipped off the camera.
Court documents uncovered by the news site reveal that Flanagan is a graduate of San Fransisco State with a 3.7 average, and was hired in 2012 as an 'editorial assistant/general news reporter' on a salary of $36,000 per year. He was also associated with the National Association of Black Journalists.
However, the documents show he quickly fell foul of his employers, and after being fired the following year he tried to sue the company for $25,000, saying he had been discriminated against and sexually harassed for being gay.
He claimed watermelon was left in 'strategic' locations around the office for him to see and that other offensive comments were made in his presence.
He also tried to subpeona the personal records of around a dozen employees, including Parker and Ward, though his request was denied. The whole lawsuit was eventually thrown out for lack of evidence.
The new information has emerged as Flanagan's relatives apologized to families of the victims, saying his actions are 'a shock to everyone'.
Amber Bowen, who went to high school with Flanagan, read a statement from the family. She said: 'It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness we express our deepest condolences to the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward.'
Fighting back tears behind her sunglasses she continued: 'We are praying for the recovery of Vicki Gardner. Our thoughts and prayers at this time are with the victims family and the WDBJ television station family.'
In an earlier statement to KRON the family said: 'Words cannot express the hurt that we feel for the victims. Our family is asking that the media respect our privacy.'
A candlelit vigil has been held in Virginia for Alison Parker and Adam Ward, the two victims of revenge shooter Vester Flanagan
Well-wishers sing hymns and offer their prayers for Parker and Ward, who were killed while reporting live on air yesterday morning
Other mourners form a circle of candles as Parker's father this evening paid tribute to his daughter, saying he was 'proud' of her
A friend of Flanagan's family this evening read a statement saying his relatives are deeply shocked and saddened by his actions, as mourners gathered in Moneta, Virigina, to pay tribute to the victims
Meanwhile tributes are continuing to pour in for Parker and Ward outside the headquarters of WDBJ where a makeshift memorial of flowers and balloon has been set up alongside cards and hand-written messages.
One particularly touching message, printed on to laminated paper, says: 'Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends and co-workers of Alison and Adam, our heroes.
'Shining stars. Beloved in this community. We grieve your deaths and will hold you dear in our hearts always.'
A candlelit vigil was also being held for the victims last night, with people making a heart on the pavement while reading prayers and singing together.
Andy Parker, 62, Alison Parker's father, also paid tribute to his daughter, saying: 'My grief is unbearable. Is this real? Am I going to wake up? I am crying my eyes out. I don’t know if there’s anybody in this world or another father who could be more proud of their daughter.'
Speaking about footage of the shooting, he added: 'It’s like showing those beheadings. I am not going to watch it. I can’t watch it. I can’t watch any news. All it would do is rip out my heart further than it already it is.'
Shock: Kimberly McBroom, the anchor for WDBJ, was seen gasping in horror when the live feed cut away from Parker and back to her. She has now revealed that at the time she though 'a car had backfired'
He also vowed to campaign to stop 'crazy people' getting their hands on guns, vowing 'you haven't heard the last of me'.
The tragedy unfolded yesterday morning as Parker and Ward were filming a light-hearted segment in a park in Moneta, Virginia, at around 6:45am.
Flanagan approached the pair from behind before shooting Ward, who fell to the ground, before being shot again. Parker tried to flee but was also gunned down.
The camera feed then cut back to stunned WDBJ anchor Kimberly McBroom who tried to remain composed while telling viewers 'we'll try to find out what that sound was' referring to gunshots heard off camera.
She told the New York Daily News: 'I thought maybe a car backfired. I thought maybe there were shots in the background. The county is kind of rural. I heard (Alison Parker) screaming. I thought she was scared of the sound. I thought there was some kind of explanation.'
Speaking about whether she suspected Flanagan would attempt to harm workers at the station after he was fired, she added: 'When he was let go ... everybody was pretty vigilant, worried that he might do something.'
Elsewhere, Lorah Joe, who went to high school prom with Flanagan when he lived in Oakland, California, said she remembers him as a 'different person' and had no idea he was living in Virginia under the name Bryce Williams.
She told ABC 7: 'He actually was very friendly, always laughing, it seemed like we would always see him joking around. It's just so crazy because you just do not think someone who you know and who you met is going to be someone who has done such an unthinkable crime.'
Meanwhile tributes to Parker and Ward continue to be placed outside the offices of WDBJ, the station where the pair worked, praising them as 'beloved in the community' adding that they 'will always be missed'
Floral tributes have also been placed up against the office doors, the same office that Flanagan was escorted from by police in 2013
The tributes appeared as Flanagan's family apologized to the relatives of the victims, saying the killer's action 'are a shock to us all'
Flanagan held a mobile phone while carrying out the killings in order to record them, and later uploaded the harrowing footage on to Twitter while being pursued by the police.
He also faxed a 23-page manifesto-c**-suicide note to a national news station outlining his motives for the attack, saying he bought the handgun he used following the Charleston Church killings, adding: 'my hollow point bullets have the victims' initials on them'.
He was eventually caught three hours drive northeast in Fauquier County, Virginia where he shot himself in an attempt to commit suicide. Flanagan initially survived the gunshot wound, but died not long after at 1:30pm
Before he was caught by police, Flanagan took to Twitter to explain his reasons for killing his former coworkers.
Flanagan, who is African American, wrote that Parker made 'racist comments' and that a complaint was filed against her through the equal employment opportunity commission, but his station chose to hire her anyway.
As for Ward, Flanagan says that after working with the cameraman once, Ward complained to HR about the former general assignment reporter. It's unclear what - if anything - happened between the two men.
Both Parker, 24 (left), and Ward, 27 (right), died at the scene. Parker was dating fellow WDBJ reporter Christ Hurst, 28, and the pair had just moved in together, while Ward was engaged to WDBJ news producer Melissa Ott
Alison Parker's (left) father (second from right) has said his grief is 'unbearable' and he has been unable to watch the news since his TV reporter daughter was gunned down during a live broadcast
After the shooting was broadcast on live TV at 6.45am, WDBJ's general manager came on the air to confirm the deaths, saying: 'It's my very very sad duty to report... that Alison and Adam died'
This afternoon it has been revealed that Flanagan was believed to be living in an apartment in Roanoak, just a few blocks away from the headquarters of WDBJ, before carrying out the shooting early yesterday.
Police have been seen removing items from the apartment this afternoon, while reporters at the scene have been told to leave.
It has also been revealed that after being fired from his job reporting for WDBJ Flanagan took up work at a UnitedHealthcare call center, where he worked until November 2014. It is not known why he left the job.
But the most shocking post of all was a video Flanagan took of the attack, which he shared on his Twitter and Facebook.The chilling clip is taken from Flanagan's point of view and shows him approaching the two journalists as they were interviewing Vicki Gardner, the local chamber of commerce.
He opens fire first on Ward and then turns to kill Parker, who is seen running away in fear. Parker and Ward died at the scene while Gardner was rushed to Roanoke Memorial Hospital for emergency surgery and is now in stable condition.
After posting the graphic video of the attack, Flanagan's Twitter account was suspended.
Ward's lifeless body is seen on the ground in the building where he and Parker were fatally shot Wednesday morning
Flanagan also allegedly contacted ABC News after the attack, sending the news network a 23-page document elaborating on his motivations, saying he wanted revenge for the Charleston church shooting and was inspired by infamous mass shooters.
ABC says a man by the name of Bryce Williams first contacted them a few weeks ago, wanting to pitch a story but he wouldn't say what it was about.
Yesterday morning, that same man contacted them again, sending them a fax two hours after the shooting.
In the fax, described as a suicide note to friends and family, Flanagan says he became angered after the Charleston church killings and praised Virginia Tech shooter Seung–Hui Cho as 'my boy'.
Flanagan, who was raised as a Jehova's witness in California, also said Jehovah made him act.
'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.'
'As for Dylann Roof? You [redacted]! You want a race war [redacted]? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …[redacted]!!!'
At the same time, he professes a deep respect for other mass shooters like Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho.
'Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That's my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin'.
He goes on to say that he has faced both racial and sexual discrimination as a black, gay man and that he was just waiting to explode.
'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!!!!'
At one point in the manifesto he even confesses to killing his cats in a forest close to where he lives, blaming the news station for the animals' deaths.
Flanagan previously worked as a multimedia and general assignment reporter at WDBJ, before he was fired two years ago.
When he was fired from WDBJ in 2013, he had to be escorted out of the building by local police 'because he was not going to leave willingly or under his own free will,' the station's former news director, Dan Dennison, said in an interview with a Hawaii station, Hawaii News Now (KHNL/KGMB).
Flanagan, 41, had 'a long series of complaints against co-workers nearly from the beginning of employment at the TV station,' said Dennison, now an official with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.
'All of these allegations were deemed to be unfounded. And they were largely under along racial lines, and we did a thorough investigation and could find no evidence that anyone had racially discriminated against this man.'
According to the station, the situation got so bad he was asked to contact employee healthcare over fears for his mental stability.
Flanagan is believed to have fled the scene of the shooting and arrived at a nearby airport where he excahnged his car for a rental, before police eventually tracked him to Fauquier County, Virginia just before noon
While fleeing police Flanagan tweeted about the attack, posting a video of the shooting alongside a rambling explanation for the killings
Troopers said they found Flanagan's vehicle crashed off the highway after he shot himself in an apparent suicide bid. He was rushed to hospital, but was pronounced dead at around 1.30pm
Franklin County, Virginia sheriff, Bill Overton speaks to the press on Wednesday after the double murder in Moneta
The conflict described by Dennison in many ways echoed another, in 2000, when Flanagan was fired from a north Florida television station after threatening fellow employees, a former supervisor said.
Flanagan then sued the station over allegations of race discrimination, claiming that a producer called him a 'monkey' in 1999 and that other black employees had been called the same name by other workers.
Flanagan also claimed that an unnamed white supervisor at the station said black people were lazy because they did not take advantage of scholarships to attend college. The parties later reached a settlement.
Flanagan 'was a good on-air performer, a pretty good reporter and then things started getting a little strange with him,' Don Shafer, the former news director of Florida's WTWC-TV said Wednesday in an interview broadcast on Shafer's current employer, San Diego 6 The CW.
Shafer said managers at the Florida station fired Flanagan because of his 'bizarre behavior.'
'He threatened to punch people out and he was kind of running fairly roughshod over other people in the newsroom,' said Shafer, who did not immediately return a call for comment.
Court documents seen by Dailymail.com reveal that Flanagan was repeatedly reprimanded for his unprofessional conduct, scored low on performance reviews for his 'nervous' on-air delivery, and was nicknamed the 'human tape recorder' for his tendency to parrot what interviewee told him, or read press releases unedited.
Flanagan previously worked at WDBJ as a general assignment reporter (pictured right during his reporting days) but was fired and had to be escorted from the building by security after allegedly arguing with fellow journalists
'A different person': It comes as Lorah Joe, from Burbank, California, has revealed she feels 'numb' after learning that the 'shy gentleman' she went to junior prom with opened fire on his two ex-colleagues, killing them both. Above, a well-dressed Flanagan is pictured smiling, with his arm around Lorah, during their junior prom
After fleeing the scene, Flanagan allegedly wrote these tweets after killing Parker and Ward Wednesday morning in Moneta, Virginia
Flanagan was also once reprimanded by WDBJ editors for wearing an Obama campaign sticker on his jacket while reporting from an election booth in 2012, saying it 'demonstrated a basic lack of understanding of your role as an on-air journalist' and was a clear breach of impartiality rules.
Before and after his work in Florida, Flanagan, who also appeared on-air using the name Bryce Williams, worked at a series of stations around the country, sometimes for just a few months at a time.
They included a stint in 1996 at KPIX, a San Francisco station, where a spokeswoman confirmed he worked as freelance production assistant. From 2002 to 2004, he worked as a reporter and anchor at WNCT-TV in Greensboro, N.C., general manager and vice president John Lewis said.
Neither knew or worked with Flanagan and said they could not answer questions about his departure from jobs at their stations.
Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have spoken out since the tragic shooting yesterday morning, calling for tighter gun controls, with the President adding: 'It breaks my heart every time you read or hear about these kids of incidents.'
Both Parker and Ward were in relationships with other employees at the news station. Ward was engaged to Melissa Ott, a news producer who was working on the show that morning and watched from the control room as the shooting happened.
It was Ott's last day on the job. She was about to start a new job in Charlotte, North Carolina and Ward planned to move with her. The crew had a party earlier that morning to celebrate her last day.
Solina Lewis, who described herself as a friend of Ott, spoke highly of Ward in a statement to Breaking911.
Ward was engaged to WDBJ news producer Melissa Ott (left). Ward pictured proposing to Ott in a photo posted to Facebook
Ott (picured) was watching in the control room Wednesday morning when the shooting happened. It was also her last day on the job. Ott was starting a new job in Charlotte, North Carolina and Ward was going to move with her. The news crew had a party for Ott that morning
Parker's (left) boyfriend of nine months was WDBJ public safety and mental health reporter Chris Hurst (right). The two had recently just moved in together
Chris Hurst, main anchor at WDBJ-TV shows photos in a scrapbook from his relationship with murdered TV reporter Alison Parker
Moneta is located in northwestern Virginia, about 40 minutes southeast of Roanoke. The shooting happened around 6:45am near Bridgewater Plaza
'He was an incredible person, a great journalist and would have been a great father and husband,' Lewis said.
'He was sweet, hard working, he came over to my apartment and put furniture together for me without Melissa even there. Even though he had to get up for work and do the early morning live shot the next day.'
Parker's boyfriend of nine months was WDBJ public safety and mental health reporter Chris Hurst, 28.
The couple had just moved in together. Hurst took to Twitter to convey his unfathomable pain: 'It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married.We just celebrated her 24th birthday,' he wrote.
Hurst only revealed the relationship to viewers after the tragedy.
'We didn't share this publicly, but [Alison] and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb.'
Parker (left) and Ward (right) worked the early shift together often and were beloved by their coworkers. They both started off as interns at the station
She graduated from James Madison University just three years ago. While there, she interned at the local ABC/Fox affiliate and was news editor for her university's nationally recognized newspaper, The Breeze.
According to her station biography, she says she liked to whitewater kayak, play with her parents' dog Jack and attend community theater events.
'She was so enthusiastic and she was doing what she loved,' Deon Guillory, a reporter who had Parker as an intern in college, told CNN. 'She was living her dream.'
Photographer Ward was a Virginia Tech graduate who attended high school in Salem, less than an hour from the scene of his murder.
The two Virginia natives often worked together on WDBJ stories and started off at the station as interns.
In April, they traveled together to Appomattox for the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. In February, the station posted photos of the duo to Facebook as they dressed up as bride and groom at a local bridal store.
'Adam was a delightful person. He worked hard - you could tell he loved what he was doing,' Robert Denton, who taught Ward at Virginia Tech University, said.
However, another reporter at WDBJ said Ward recently told her that he was looking into getting out of news and switching careers.
Hurst (right) and Parker (left) had been dating for about nine months and had just moved in together
The heartbroken boyfriend of Alison Parker, the Virginia reporter gunned down on live TV yesterday morning, has told of his unfathomable grief hours after losing the woman he loved.
WDBJ health reporter Chris Hurst, 28, took to Twitter yesterady morning to celebrate his love for Parker and to thank a community that's run to his side after Parker and her cameraman, 27-year-old Adam Ward, were killed by a crazed gunman while taping a story in near the small town of Moneta.
'She was the most radiant woman I ever met. And for some reason she loved me back. She loved her family, her parents and her brother,' Hurst tweeted before 10 a.m.
Hurst and Parker had been dating for less than a year when they moved in together recently.
'We were together almost nine months. It was the best nine months of our lives. We wanted to get married. We just celebrated her 24th birthday,' he wrote.
While it appeared that co-workers were aware of the romance, Hurst revealed on Twitter yesterday that their viewers were likely in the dark until the unthinkable murder shined light on the relationship.
'We didn't share this publicly, but @AParkerWDBJ7 and I were very much in love. We just moved in together. I am numb,' he wrote.
With Ward behind the camera, Parker was interviewing Vicki Gardner, the local chamber of commerce director, for a light-hearted segment at 6:45am when about eight shots rang out.
Screams were heard as the women ducked and the camera fell to the floor. A person dressed in all black was then seen standing nearby with what appeared to be a gun raised in one hand pointed at Ward.
The general manager at the CBS station later came on the air to confirm Parker and Ward's deaths. Parker was 24 and Ward was 27.
Police say they know who the suspect is and are currently hunting down the shooter. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says the gunman is believed to be a disgruntled employee of the station.
Roanoke, Virginia reporter Allison Parker, 24, and photographer Adam Ward, 27, were killed Wednesday morning, August 26, when a gunman opened fire on them during a live interview.
Parker was conducting an interview at a water park in Bridgewater Plaza when a man dressed in dark clothing fired eight shots.
The woman being interviewed was also shot. She's currently in surgery at a local hospital.
Schools in the area have been closed
Both Parker and Ward worked for television station WDBJ7. No motive is known at this time and the gunman is still at large.
A gunman is caught on tape shooting two WDBJ7 employees
Allison Parker and Adam Ward
According to WDBJ7, Adam graduated from Salem High School and Virginia Tech. Alison grew up in Martinsville and attended Patrick Henry Community College and James Madison University.
This is not surprising. We have television and radio stations. But we keep trying to "crossover" We keep wanting them to approve and hire us. Why?
Opera's station could have news. There is Rise and the African Channel (if that is Black owned) and I am sure there are others. We can report the same news and what is happening in our own communities just like anyone else. What is the problem? People, let's get serious.
This is why we need our own lifeline...so not to depend on them for jobs or feel the overwhelming madness from being slighted.
Wake up black people...
Who feels it knows it...
© 2023 Created by Caribbean Fever. Powered by
You need to be a member of CaribbeanFever / FeverEyes / CaribFever to add comments!
Join CaribbeanFever / FeverEyes / CaribFever