Shooter in Virginia Was a ‘Human Powder Keg’


The man who killed two journalists while they were live on TV in the US state of Virginia has described himself as a ‘human powder keg’ in a rambling fax sent to ABC News, received just after the attack.

Vester Flanagan had been dismissed by the same station, WDBJ7, and the fax claims that he had suffered discrimination and bullying for being black and gay.  He was killed after the attack following a police chase.


The White House said that the attack showed that there was a need for better gun control around the country.

The two people killed were reporter Alison Parker and cameramen Adam Ward.  Their station manager, Jeff Marks, spoke about how much the pair were loved.  He also described Flanagan as an ‘unhappy man’ who had to be escorted from the building when he was dismissed in 2013.

Ms Parker was in the middle of a live interview with a guest on tourism early Wednesday morning in the town of Moneta when the shooting occurred.  Shots rang out and viewers saw the camera fall to the ground.  Screams could be heard and the camera even caught a glimpse of the gunman.

The station then cut back to the studio and the journalists there continued to broadcast on the death of their two colleagues.

Alison Parker was 24 and a report for the Mornin’ show on the station.  She had grown up in Martinsville Virginia and edited her university newspaper.  She joined the station after an internship, as it had been the station she watched growing up.  She was currently dating station anchor Chris Hurst.

Adam Ward was a 27-year-old cameraman who went to school in Salem, Virginia and was a graduate of Virginia Tech.  He was escribed as a ‘fine photojournalist’ who was committed to his work and was engaged to station producer Melissa Ott.


Hours later, footage appeared online from the gunman showing himself opening fire at a close range to his victims, though this was later removed by the websites.

The person being interviewed at the time, Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, is currently in a stable condition in the hospital following surgery on her wounds.

A 23-page fax was received by ABC News, allegedly sent by Flanagan but under his professional name of Bryce Williams.  It arrived later on Wednesday and told of his anger ‘building steadily’ and how he had become a ‘human powder keg’ waiting to explode.

He claims to have suffered both racism and homophobia in his workplace and spoke of his admiration for teenagers who had killed 13 people at Columbine High School in Colorado in 1999.  He added that the attack in Charleston, South Carolina, that left nine black churchgoers dead in June had ‘sent him over the top’.

Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton said that the fax was being used as part of the investigation a clearly showed a disturbed individual.  A representative of the Flanagan family issued a statement offering their deepest condolences to the families of the two victims.

President Obama called again for tougher gun laws following the shooting but two of the Republican presidential hopefuls, Jim Gilmore and Ben Carson, were quick to warn of caution in introducing new laws.


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