A man who shot dead two former colleagues on live television wrote a rambling 23-page suicide note and manifesto in which said he was “surprised I didn’t ‘do this’ before now”.
According to ABC News, a man claiming to be Bryce Williams had called repeatedly asking for the station’s fax number which was later used hours after the shooting in Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta, to send the document.
In it, Vester Lee Flanagan – who used Bryce Williams on screen – described being the victim of racial discrimination and said the fatal shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, “sent me over the top”.
He also claims the initials of the Charleston victims were on the bullets he used to kill reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, and expresses admiration for the gunmen behind the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School in Colorado.
The document, which at one stage is titled “Suicide Note For Friends & Family”, states:
:: “Ok, so the big question is ‘why?’ Well, after I compiled well over 100 pages chronicling the hurt in my life, I asked myself, ‘why NOT?’ Hell, I am surprised I didn’t ‘do this’ before now.
:: “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… What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them. As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE (deleted)!!!”
:: 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 saying.”
:: 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…”
:: 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!!!”
:: [I] tried to pull myself up by the bootstraps. The damage was already done and when someone gets to this point, there is nothing that can be said or done to change their sadness to happiness. It does not work that way. Meds? Nah. It’s too much. Yeah I’m all f***** up in the head.
:: I am so sorry for dumping on you… I am just so sick of this s*** man.”
:: In the final weeks of my life… I put on a smiley face to disguise what was to come. Around town, I told some random strangers (or people I interacted with at various businesses) how I hated people… but I would often say it with a smile on my face.
Flanagan, 41, was pursued by authorities in a highway chase before veering off the road and crashing his rented Chevrolet Sonic. He was later pronounced dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Ms Parker and Mr Ward, who both worked for CBS affiliate WDBJ, died at the scene of the attack. Flanagan was a former employee at WDBJ, but was fired in 2013.
Vicki Gardner, who was being interviewed live on camera, was also shot but was in a stable condition after undergoing surgery on Wednesday.
Jeffrey Marks, president and general manager of WDBJ, said Flanagan had to be escorted from the station after his dismissal after refusing to leave and described him as an “unhappy man”, who was “difficult to work with” and always “looking out for people to say things he could take offence to”.
He added: “Eventually after many incidents of his anger… we dismissed him. He did not take that well.”
Flanagan was also sacked from a TV station in north Florida for apparently threatening colleagues. He sued the TV station and the case was settled out of court.
Tweets from Flanagan’s account, which has now been suspended, claimed that Ms Parker made a racial comment to him and accused Mr Ward of reporting him to human resources after working with him just once.
Reports also claim Mr Ward may have filmed the moment he was sacked from WDBJ and escorted from the building by police.