Man suspected of killing reporter, photographer reportedly worked for station in the past


Vester Flanigan is accused of shooting and killing two of his former colleagues.

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MONETA, Va. – The man accused of shooting and killing a reporter and a photographer on live television has shot himself on Wednesday afternoon, according to state police.

Authorities identified the suspected shooter as Vester Lee Flanagan, but he went by Bryce Williams.

On Wednesday morning, officers say Flanagan shot and killed 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward as they were live on air for WDBJ.

An image of the shooter was broadcast live on air.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffee identified the alleged suspect as a “disgruntled employee.”

According to WDBJ, Flanagan used to work at the station as an on-air personality.

Shortly after the shooting, a Twitter account purporting to be from Flanagan posted video of the deadly attack.  Also on the page, the user claimed that Parker made “racist comments” and that Ward  had complained about him to the station’s human resources officer.

According to San Diego 6, Flanagan was fired from that station for making threats to employees.

He was hired at WDBJ  in the spring of 2012 after working at stations in San Francisco, Florida, North Carolina, Texas and Georgia.

He was fired in February 2013.

“He was sort of looking out for people to say something he could take offense to. After many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him and he did not take that well. We had to call the police to escort him from the building,” said Jeff Marks, the general manager of WDBJ, during a noon broadcast.

Marks also described Flanagan as someone who “was difficult to work with.”

Last year, Flanagan filed a lawsuit against the station, alleging discrimination by the station and sought  money he felt he was owed and additional damages.

According to the Roanoke Times, the suit also named most of the WDBJ staff in his complaint.

However, the case was dismissed by a judge just two months later.

This isn’t the first discrimination lawsuit Flanagan filed against an employer.

According to Newsweek, Flanagan filed a discrimination lawsuit against WTWC after he alleged that a producer at the station made a racist remark to him.

The lawsuit settled for an undisclosed amount.

On Wednesday afternoon, Virginia State Police say Flanagan shot himself along I-66 in Faquier County.

At first, officials with the state police reported that Flanagan was dead. However, it was later learned that he was in critical condition.

He later died at the hospital.

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