Vester Flanagan: Virginia gunman said he acted in response to the Charleston church shooting

ABC News said it received a 23-page fax from man blamed for shooting

Andrew Buncombe
Monday 31 August 2015 16:35
Vester Lee Flanagan, known professionally as Bryce Williams
Vester Lee Flanagan, known professionally as Bryce Williams

The man blamed by police for the shooting dead of two journalists in Virginia sent a lengthy “manifesto” to a new network in which he claimed he had been inspired to act by the shooting of nine church members in South Carolina.

ABC News said it had received the 23-page fax from Vester Flanagan, who also used the on-air name Bryce Williams, early on Wednesday morning, two hours after the shooting in southern Virginia.

He had been calling in recent weeks to pitch a story and two hours after the fax was sent, later Mr Flanagan called the station again, and said the police were after him, even as officers were involved in a huge man-hunt for him.

Mr Flanagan, who killed two journalists from his former television station - Alison Parker and Adam Ward - later shot himself and he subsequently died from his injuries.

It has since emerged that the gunman was ordered by his previous employer to seek help for his mental health or face dismissal after displaying "threatening behaviour".

Vester Lee Flanagan claimed he had suffered repeated discrimination from his employers

The fax claimed that the 41-year-old had been motivated to act by the June shooting of nine black church members in South Carolina. He said the events that played out in at 6.45am local time in Bedford County, in the south-central part of the state, were a response to the “racism of the Charleston church shooting”.

“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15,” he wrote.

“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them.”

Mr Flanagan’s manifesto, which will likely be compared to the one posted online by Dylann Roof, the man charged with nine counts of murder for the Charleston shooting, referred to a “race war”.

“As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!”

Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers.

“Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin,” he wrote.

In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Mr Flanagan Williams refers to it as a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family”.

ABC said he wrote that he had suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work.

He said he has been attacked by black men and white females. He talked about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man.

“Yes, it will sound like I am angry...I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace,” he said.

“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily...I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”

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