ABC: Gunman who murdered journalists apparently sent fax blaming Charleston shooting, mistreatment as black gay man

Someone claiming to be “Bryce Williams” called ABC News over the past few weeks, before the shooting, asking if he could pitch a story and fax them some information but never did. The shooting in Virginia happened at 6:46 a.m. this morning. A little later, a 23-page fax timestamped 8:26 a.m. ET arrived at ABC News, followed some 90 minutes after that by another call from “Bryce” claiming that his real name was Vester Lee Flanagan, the same as the man accused of murdering Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

No hard proof yet that the man who sent the fax was in fact the shooter, but c’mon. If you’re interested in what might be rattling around a degenerate’s mind as he lay in wait preparing to shoot two people in cold blood, convinced that God himself had told him to act, here you go. From the fax:

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

It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.

Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, and 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 says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work. –He says he has been attacked by black men and white females. –He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man.

“The church shooting was the tipping point,” he wrote, “but my anger has been building steadily,” comparing himself to a “human powder keg.” He claims he put down a deposit on a gun on June 19, just two days after the massacre in Charleston. If that’s true, notes Charles Cooke, it likely means Flanagan bought his gun from a licensed dealer, which means he passed a background check. But wait: Can it be that a man who thought “Jehovah” was urging him on to kill had showed no signs of mental illness before today? Nope, according to sources quoted by the NYT. Flanagan was apparently a volatile presence at work with a history of “bizarre” behavior:

At WDBJ, Mr. Williams “quickly gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with,” [general manager Jeffrey] Marks said.

“He was sort of looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to,” Mr. Marks said. “Eventually, after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well, and we had to call the police to escort him from the building.”…

“He was a good on-air performer, pretty good reporter, and then things started getting a little strange with him,” Don Shafer, who worked with Mr. Williams at WTWC, said in a broadcast on the station where he now works in San Diego. He said Mr. Williams’ contract had been terminated, in part, because of bizarre behavior and threats to other employees.

He sued both news outlets for racial discrimination but the complaints went nowhere, said Marks, because no one could corroborate the anti-black and/or anti-gay comments allegedly made to him. Makes me wonder, per the tidbit in the excerpt above, if “Jehovah’s” wasn’t the only phantom voice Flanagan ever heard.

Via Mediaite, here’s a WDBJ bio video of Alison Parker posted just last month. Spend a few minutes acquainting yourself with one of the victims, who always get short shrift in the frenzy after a shooting to better understand the killer. Cooke notes that the fact that Flanagan knew Cho Seung-Hui, Eric Harris, and Dylan Klebold by name may itself have impelled him onward to kill. Mass murder is, after all, an act by which losers transform grievance into media glory. Also, if you’re one of the few people who hasn’t yet seen either the WDBJ footage of the shooting or Flanagan’s own depraved recording of it: First, I congratulate you sincerely on your restraint, and second, I can further discourage you from watching by telling you that the clips are more “fear porn” than “gore porn.” I saw the WDBJ clip before we knew anyone had been shot; it started circulating on Twitter early this morning as a sort of “what the hell happened here?” thing, not as a snuff video. You can’t tell that anyone’s been hit, which led me to think that Parker and Ward had inadvertently picked up the sound of gunshots that were close by but not aimed at them. Flanagan’s own video popped up on social media around 90 minutes after everyone learned what had happened. I clicked it, admittedly, out of pure “this can’t possibly be what I think it is” prurience, and it’s excruciating. Again, no blood, but something worse — the agony of watching a killer stalk his victims, literally within arm’s length for 10 seconds or so, before he pulls the gun and fires. What you come away with from both is the sound of Alison Parker screaming in mortal terror in what you know are the last few moments of her life. It’s a waking nightmare. Resist if you can.

Jazz Shaw Jul 06, 2022 9:01 AM ET