Virginia shooting: Gunman Vester Flanagan handed wooden cross to news editor and said 'you'll need this'

Questions have been asked about the gunman's mental health issues

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The Independent US

The man who shot dead two journalists during a live broadcast handed a wooden cross to the television station’s news director when he was fired two years ago and told him “you will need it”.

Jeff Marks, the General Manager of WDBJ7 told a news conference on Thursday that, Vester Flanagan had worked for the station from March 2012 to February 2013.

He said he was fired after a series of issues about his work, and problematic encounters with several colleagues.

Journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward, who were killed after a gunman opened fire during a live broadcast in Virginia


Mr Marks confirmed that Mr Flanagan had filed a unfair dismissal lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court, contrary to earlier reports that it had been dismissed. He declined to specify how much was involved but said it was a “small amount”.

Mr Marks said Mr Flanagan had been seen around Roanoke in the two-and-a-half years since he was fired. He said there had been no problems.

The manager said he had received messages of support from around the world and had received 819 emails. He said the station could still not identify a motive and he dismissed Mr Flanagan’s suggestion that the station had discriminated against him.


“We do tolerate any discrimination,” he said. “We have terminated employees for that...I will defend the actions of all the employees when he was here.”

Mr Marks said Mr Flanagan was fired after a series of performance reviews and complaints about his journalism. At that point a decision was taken to let him go.

“When he left he gave a wooden cross to the news director and said ‘you’re going to need this’,” he said.