The man who shot dead a Virginia reporter and photographer on live TV has been identified as former WDBJ reporter Bryce Williams, real name Vester Lee Flanagan II. WDBJ says Williams was hired in April 2012 and fired a year ago.
Police say 41-year-old Flanagan killed WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker (24) and photographer Adam Ward (27) in Moneta, Virginia. Flanagan also wounded Vicki Gardner, the women who was being interviewed at the time. She underwent surgery and is in stable condition.
Both Parker and Ward were in relationships with other employees at the news station. Ward was engaged to Melissa Ott, a news producer. Ott 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. Parker’s boyfriend of nine months was WDBJ public safety and mental health reporter Chris Hurst, 28.
Williams turned a gun on himself, but survived the shooting. He is in critical condition. While police were chasing Williams he put up the videos on Facebook and Twitter. One of the clips shows him walking up to his victims. Another shows him firing the deadly shots at point blank range. Twitter and Facebook almost immediately suspended his accounts.
Williams claims the shooting was retaliation for Alison Parker and Adam Ward reporting him to human resources. He also claims Alison had made racist comments. “He was a difficult person for a lot of people to work with,” WDBJ7 general manager Jeffrey Marks said.
UPDATE: Bryce Williams has since died of his injuries.