BREAKING: Shooter Kills 2 Journalists At Point Blank Range During A Live Newscast
Two newscasters were shot and killed when a man walked up to them during a live newscast and opened fire at very close range.
UPDATE: Shooter Identified
The shooter has been identified as Lester Lee Flanagan, 41. He is a former employee of WDBJ where the victims worked.
Lester Lee Flanagan has died after a self inflicted gun shot would.
Here are details of his racist manifesto he left behind from ABC news:
A man claiming to be Bryce Williams called ABC News over the last few weeks, saying he wanted to pitch a story, and wanted to fax information. He never told ABC News what the story was.
This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the phone, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.
In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:
“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…”
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them."
It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.
Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.'"
In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family."
He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry...I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace....”
“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily...I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”
WARNING: THE VIDEO BELOW IS DISTURBING AND SHOWS THE SHOOTING AS IT TOOK PLACE.
A 24-year-old reporter and 27-year-old photographer from a local news station WDBJ in Roanoke have been killed by a shooter that appeared during a live news interview Wednesday morning, WDBJ confirms. The shooting occurred at Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, Virginia. During a live interview from Bridgewater Plaza, approximately eight gunshots are heard as reporter Alison Parker is seen interviewing someone on screen. The camera, presumably held by photographer Adam Ward, then drops to the ground and the broadcast cuts back to the anchor desk. The video captures an image of the what's believed to be the suspected shooter before it cuts away. WDBJ has tweeted out that they are trying to figure out what happened and that law enforcement is on scene. Authorities from Bedford County, Franklin County and Virginia State Police have responded. "We do not know the motive. We do not know who the killer is," WDBJ General Manager Jeffrey Marks said. "We do know the Franklin County sheriff ... they are working very diligently to track down both the motive and the person responsible for this terrible crime against two fine journalists," he said during the station's coverage of the shooting. WHSV in Harrisonburg reports that the suspect in the shooting is being chased north on I-81 at this time.
It is with extreme sadness that we report WDBJ7's Alison Parker and Adam Ward were killed in an attack this morning. http://t.co/oC9s4vLJXV
— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) August 26, 2015
Update: Allison Parker and photographer Adam Ward have been killed in the shooting at Bridgewater Plaza at SML. pic.twitter.com/m4ElK04GLf
— Brent Watts (@wattsupbrent) August 26, 2015
According to @roanoketimes, Vicki Gardner, the subject of the WDBJ7 interview, was shot in the back and is in surgery.
— David Aldridge (@davidmaldridge) August 26, 2015
— Chris Hurst (@chrishurstwdbj) August 26, 2015