A former reporter who was named as the suspect in an on-air TV
shooting this morning has died from a self-inflicted gunshot
wound, authorities said today.
Vester Lee Flanagan, who was known professionally as Bryce
Williams, died at a Fairfax, Virginia, hospital at about 1:30
p.m., about seven hours after he allegedly shot two of his
The Virginia State Police reported that they spotted his vehicle
at 11:30 a.m. and tried to pull him over, but he sped away
before his car "ran off the road and crashed."
When troopers approached the vehicle, they "found the male
driver suffering from a gunshot wound," and he was transported
to a nearby hospital, state police said in a Facebook post.
Meanwhile, sometime between Tuesday night and this morning, ABC
News received a fax from someone claiming to be Bryce Williams.
It is a lengthy document: 23 pages. ABC News has turned it over
Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were killed in the field
during a live news segment in Moneta, Virginia, according to
their station, WDBJ-TV, a CBS affiliate serving the Roanoke-
Lynchburg television market.
A third person, Vicki Gardner, whom Parker was interviewing when
she was injured in the shooting, is out of surgery and in stable
condition, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital said.
WDBJ president and general manager Jeffrey A. Marks confirmed
that Williams used to work at the station but was dismissed two
years ago. Marks described him as "an unhappy man" who was
dismissed after he "quickly became known for a reputation for
being difficult to work with."
Marks said Williams was "looking out for people to say things
that he would take offense too."
The shooting was reported at 6:45 a.m.
Franklin County school officials said three schools were on
lockdown in the area of the shooting and that police officers
were offering additional security.
The shooting itself took place at Bridgewater Plaza, a
recreational facility with shops, restaurants, a mini golf
course and boat rentals, where Parker and Ward were reporting on
the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake.
Marks, the station president, went on the air this morning
confirming the two deaths and noting that both victims were in
relationships with other staffers at the station. Chris Hurst,
who was dating Parker, posted tributes on his Twitter feed:
Marks said it was his "very very sad duty" to report their
deaths, and noted that the shooting is under investigation. "We
have other members of the team with us today holding back tears,
frankly," Marks said.
He said Parker was a graduate of James Madison University in
Harrisonburg, Virginia, while Ward was a graduate of Virginia
Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Marks and the anchors confirmed on air that Ward's fiancee was a
morning producer at the station who was celebrating her last day
at work today before starting a new job. Parker reportedly
brought in balloons as part of the celebration before going out
for the fatal live report.
Jay Webb, the news director at ABC affiliate station WHSV-TV in
Harrisonburg (about two hours away) who had previously worked at
WDBJ for several years, said he knew both victims.
"Unthinkable," he told ABC News this morning, adding that he was
especially close to Ward. "It’s a very hard time in our newsroom
here this morning, as it is, I’m sure, across newsrooms across
the country this morning."
He said he also knew Parker because she recently interned at his
station before getting the job at WDBJ, which is owned by Schurz
Communications of South Bend, Indiana.
"Alison was vibrant," he said. "Both extremely good people, will
Illegal alien muslim Barack Hussein Obama seizes on this tragedy
caused by one of his mentally ill homosexual, black racist
supporters, to wave the flags for more gun control.