Vester Flanagan – (Virginia news crew shooting, 2015) – snuck up on WDBJ-TV news reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, murdering them on live television as they filmed early in the morning outside a shopping center in Moneta, Virginia on August 26, 2015. Flanagan, 41, a former WDBJ reporter, also shot and injured Vicki Gardner, whom Parker was interviewing when they were attacked. When located by police, Flanagan pulled off the road and shot himself, later dying in the hospital.
Flanagan, a disgruntled employee with a history of odd behavior and workplace incidences, was fired from the Roanoke, Virginia station two years earlier amid claims he was difficult to work with.
Before killing Parker, he tweeted she “made racist comments.” However, it’s unclear if the two actually met as Flanagan was fired around the time Parker was hired. Flanagan also tweeted that Ward complained to human resources about him after working together once.
Flanagan, who worked reported under the name Bryce Williams II, had a long history of butting heads with co-workers and filing racial discrimination lawsuits against his employers.
In 2000, Flanagan filed a lawsuit against his then employer, the Tallahassee affiliate of NBC, alleging that he and another black employee were referred to as “monkeys” and were called “lazy” reported Hollywood Life. The case was settled, but the terms remain unknown.
Bosses at WDBJ told Flanagan to seek medical help in 2012, warning that if he didn’t contact the company Health Advocate, he would be fired. Flanagan was terminated three months later.
The Guardian reported that Flanagan “was reprimanded for ‘lashing out’ at a colleague and for his ‘harsh language’ and ‘aggressive body language’ while working as a reporter.”
Flanagan’s boss told him: “On three separate occasions in the past month and a half you have behaved in a manner that has resulted in one or more of your co-workers feeling threatened or uncomfortable.”
When he was finally fired in 2013, Flanagan yelled that he wasn’t leaving and the station would have to call the police. “Call the police. I’m not leaving. I’m going to make a stink and it’s going to be in the headlines,” he said.
After being fired, Flanagan filed another racial discrimination lawsuit seeking $15,000 in damages, this time against WDBJ, but the case was dismissed.