Vester Lee Flanagan II, also known as Bryce Williams, posted disgruntled comments about slain reporter after the shooting.
A man is hospitalized after police said he shot himself after shooting a television reporter and cameraman on live television Wednesday in Virginia.
Augusta County Sheriff’s Office identified Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, of Roanoke, as the suspect in the shooting. The station WDBJ-TV said Flanagan appeared on air as Bryce Williams.
According to now-deleted Twitter and Facebook feeds, Flanagan said he the killings and posted the video on social media. Flanagan later crashed a vehicle, and pursuing troopers found him with a gunshot wound. He was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, state police said.
WDBJ-TV’s Alison Parker, 24, and her cameraman Adam Ward, 27, died shortly after a man shot Vicky Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, in the back and then turned the gun on the two journalists. WDBJ-TV said the shooting took place at about 6:45 am while Parker was in the middle of the interview.
According to the Roanoke Times, Gardner was taken to the hospital for surgery and is in stable condition.
The video of the shooting shows Parker screaming as she ran and could be heard saying “Oh my God” as she was shot. Ward’s camera captured a brief image, which included the suspect’s face, of the shooter before the station switched back to the on-air wide-eyed anchor.
ABC News later reported on its website that the network received a 23-page fax, a sort-of manifesto, from a person who identified himself to be Williams. The fax has been turned over to authorities and its details were not clear.
WDBJ-TV stated that Williams was employed by the station in the past but was let go because of poor work relationships and a seemingly-strong desire to create controversy. According to TMZ, Williams was also employed by a Tennessee station where he alleged racism before he was dismissed.
Hanania covered Chicago political beats including Chicago City Hall while at the Daily Southtown Newspapers (1976-1985) and later for the Chicago Sun-Times (1985-1992). He published The Villager Community Newspapers covering 12 Southwest suburban regions (1993-1997). Hanania also hosted live political news radio talkshows on WLS AM (1980 - 1991), and also on WBBM FM, WLUP FM, WSBC AM in Chicago, and WNZK AM in Detroit.
The recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, Hanania was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. Hananiaalso received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania writes columns for the Southwest Community Newspaper Group including the Des Plaines Valley News, the Southwest News-Herald, the Regional News and the Reporter Newspapers.