Authorities: shooting suspect Vester L. Flanagan Dies


MONETA, Va. (Sinclair Broadcast Group) -- The man suspected of shooting and killing a TV reporter and photographer has shot himself, and has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Sheriff Bill Overton confirms Vester Flanagan ran off I-66, crashed, and was suffering from a gunshot wound - and died at a local hospital.

The 41 year-old posted videos on a Facebook page, and Twitter account showing him holding a gun and firing it at WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, photographer Adam Ward, and Vicki Gardner during a live interview.

Those accounts have since been deleted.

Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, were interviewing Gardner at a water park in Moneta during a live segment for the station's morning show when Flanagan walked up and opened fire.

Gardner is out of surgery and is expected to survive, according to authorities. She was shot in the back during the attack.

The whole incident was caught on live television, while you could hear Parker's horrifying screams.

An image captured by the camera, circulating on social media, allegedly shows Flanagan's face during the attack.

According ABC News, Flanagan sent a 23 page fax to their newsroom around the time of the shooting. The organization said they turned those documents over to authorities.

Flanagan went by the on-air name of "Bryce Williams" while working for WDBJ. According to the station's general manager, he was let go a few years ago. Flanagan was hired in 2012. Coworkers said he worked as a reporter at the time Parker was interning for the station.

General manager Jeff Marks during a livestream broadcast on WDBJ confirmed the station had "dismissed" Flanagan two years ago.

"He did not take that well. We had to call police to escort him from the building" he said.

Other WDBJ employees echoed Marks' sentiments that Flanagan was someone who was difficult to work with, describing him as an "unhappy man."

Marks was unsure about any specific complaints Flanagan had against Ward or Parker, but did confirm the former employee had filed a complaint that was eventually dismissed by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission.

Before his account was deleted, Flanagan alleged Alison had made racist comments, so he filed a report, also claiming Adam "went to HR on me after working with me one time!"


According to the station website, Parker was a morning reporter. She graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and was news editor of its recognized newspaper, The Breeze. She also had been an intern at WDBJ-TV.

The TV station also linked to her Facebook page, which says Parker spent most of her life outside Martinsville, Virginia.

Alison's boyfriend, a coworker at the station, expressed his shock on social media following the devastating news.

According to Jeff Marks, General Manager of WDBJ, Adam Ward's fiance was in the control room at the TV station working as a producer, and witnessed the shooting. The station spokesperson describes Ward as their "go-to guy" - doing live shots for the station's morning show for several years.

Vicki Gardner is the head of the SML Chamber of Commerce.

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