The New York Post collected the supposed comments made at Roanoke’s WDBJ7 news station which prompted former reporter Bryce Williams, aka Vester Lee Flanagan, to allegedly shoot and kill colleagues Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward on Wednesday.
When Parker was an intern in 2012, she made a couple remarks, according to assistant news director Greg Baldwin, that set Williams off. “One was something about ‘swinging’ by some place,” Baldwin said. “The other was out in the ‘field.’”
There was never any reprimand for the comments made, but Williams expressed in the workplace — as well as on his now-suspended Twitter account the day of the shooting — that they were “racist.”
A tweet that followed questioned why WBDJ7 would “hire her” as a news reporter after she spouted said language around the station. “That’s how that guy’s mind worked,” said WDBJ7 video editor Ryan Fuqua. “Just crazy, left-field assumptions like that … just common, everyday talk. That was his M.O. To start shit.”
Fuqua added that Williams would often act unstable around the news station with temper tantrums and flinging accusations that he bundled in a discrimination lawsuit he filed in 2013, which did not hold up.
“We would say stuff like, ‘the reporter’s out in the field,’” explained cameraman Trevor Fair. “And he would look at us and say, ‘What are you saying, cotton fields? That’s racist.’ … This guy was a nightmare. Management’s worst nightmare.”
Williams’ 2013 lawsuit also recalled an afternoon in which a watermelon was brought to the station. He felt it was a personal snide “because I’m black.” He also believed 7-Eleven’s watermelon-flavored Slurpees were racist. Flanagan assumed everything was a jab at his race, even when a manager brought in watermelon for all employees. “It’s not a coincidence,” he said.
Hours after the shooting Wednesday, authorities obtained Williams’ manifesto which included praise for multiple mass shooters as well as the ultimate reason why he went through with the killings: “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.”
Around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Flanagan died at Inova Fairfax hospital from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
HERE ARE THE ‘RACIST COMMENTS’ THAT OFFENDED THE WDBJ7 ‘REPORTER’ SHOOTER