Vester Lee Flanagan II's anger had lurked within him for years. The staff at WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va., had become well-acquainted with it, reports the Roanoke Times. He was hired to report weekend news in 2012, under the name Bryce Williams, and was fired just 11 months later. “Bryce had anger-management issues that went beyond anger management,” said Justin McLeod, a former WDBJ reporter. “There was something not right with him.” WDBJ President Jeff Marks described Flanagan as “an unhappy man” who upon his firing had to be escorted from the station by police. Yesterday, he fatally shot two staff members and wounded a chamber of commerce official during a live broadcast.
Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were killed. Vicki Gardner, 62, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was listed in stable condition after undergoing emergency surgery. Flanagan was apprehended five hours later in northern Virginia, where he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. At WDBJ, “Photographers flat-out refused to work with him,” said McLeod. “He called them all racists. He threw that word around a lot. Nobody believed it.” Dan Dennison, the news director at WDBJ from 2011 to 2013, when Flanagan was hired, said police were called the day Flanagan was fired “because he was not going to leave willingly or under his own free will.” Dennison added that all of Flanagan’s “allegations were deemed to be unfounded. And they were largely … along racial lines, and we did a thorough investigation and could find no evidence that anyone had racially discriminated against this man.”