'Racist and homophobic abuse' behind live TV shootings in the US, claims killer

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By Alexander Aucott
'Racist and homophobic abuse' behind live TV shootings in the US, claims killer

A quiet morning TV broadcast in a small Virginia town turned to tragedy on Wednesday.

Vester Flanagan, 41, who broadcast under the name Bryce Williams, was a veteran anchorman with a history of workplace grievances.

Reportedly angry over perceived racism and homophobia at work, he decided to take his revenge.

The former employee of WDBJ-7 approached two journalists from the channel as they were conducting a live interview about tourism in the area.

He first pointed a gun at Alison Parker, 24, but as she was focusing on the interview she did not notice.

After a short pause he then fired nine shots at the journalist and her 27-year-old cameraman Adam ward, killing both of them.

Suicide note

Two hours after the attack a fax was received by ABC news.

It was entitled “Suicide Note for Friends and Family” written by “Bryce Williams, legal name Vester Flanagan II”

In the rambling letter he talks of how he was attacked for being a gay, black man.

He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work while at WDBJ-7 in Roanoke.

He had to be escorted from the station’s building after being dismissed in 2013.

Racist comments

In the note he spoke of “nasty racist things” while working there for which he took them to court and got a settlement.

In two tweets believed to be speaking of the victims he said “Alison made racist comments,” and, “Adam went to HR on me after working with me one time!!!”

In his message to ABC news he said “I can remember one day in particular… leaving the courthouse… feeling overwhelmed… confused… even some fear. But by golly I knew I HAD to fight. … They truly f****d with my life and caused an awful chain of events.”

He claims to have been offered a job at a TV news station in Pennsylvania, but said WDBJ-7 persuaded it to rescind the offer.

He says he even killed his cats in a forest “because of them.”

Also in the note to ABC news he said the Charleston church shootings sent him “over the top”

After killing his two former colleagues Vester Flanagan later turned the gun on himself after a police chase.