A disgruntled co-worker with a volatile history killed two of his co-workers this morning and, once again, people living in the U.S. are forced to confront this country's lack of policies, regulation and support around guns, violence and mental illness.
Racism—or the country's inability to confront institutionalized violence against people of color—is also alleged to be part of this story.
The story: On a Roanoke, Virginia, morning news show today, Vester Lee Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams, allegedly fired a handgun at reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, as the two were live on air. The interview subject was also injured and underwent surgery today for injuries she sustained from the close-range shooting.
Around 8:30 this morning, Williams faxed a 23-page manifesto document titled "I AM BRYCE WILLIAMS," to the news station, ABC reports.
Members of the news team back in the studio watched the shooting, which aired live on TV, in disbelief.
Hours later, at around 10 a.m., while a massive manhunt for Flanagan was underway, a man who identified himself as Bryce Williams called ABC News, confessing to the shooting.
In the manifesto, ABC reported, Flanagan claims he "suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work," and that "he has been attacked by black men and white females." In the "rambling" document, Flanagan claimed "he was attacked for being a gay, black man." He wrote of past mass shootings and cited the Charleston church shooting as motivation for today's action.
Court documents that were uncovered today found that , Flanagan sued a Tallahassee, Florida, station in 2000, for racial discrimination by co-workers and supervisors. He said he was called a "monkey" by a producer in 1999 and claimed that another black journalist was told to "stop talking ebonics."
WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks described Flanagan, who was fired from the station in 2013 due to anger issues, as "being difficult to work with." Flanagan also filed an EEOC complaint after being fired by WDBJ, seeking $15,000 in damages. The case, however, was dismissed.
Flanagan captured the shooting on video, which has circulated on social media.