Vester Flanagan, aka Bryce Williams: Details About the Virginia Shooter


Investigators have identified Vester Lee Flanagan, a former WDBJ7 reporter known on air as Bryce Williams, as the gunman in Wednesday's news interview shooting at Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Videos posted to his social media accounts appeared to show him carrying out the shooting. 

His apparent Twitter and Facebook profiles have since been suspended, and the videos were removed from both accounts. 

Some sources have spelled his last name "Flanigan," but Mic is using the spelling included in a lawsuit Flanagan filed in 2000. 

Flanagan was reportedly fired from WDBJ7 after working at the local news station for about a year, WTVR reports. He had worked at several news stations, Heavy reports. 

ABC News reports it had received a 23-page fax from someone who identified themselves as Bryce Williams. The details of the document were not known. ABC News said it had handed the fax over to authorities. 

One of the Facebook videos showed the shooter walking up and standing behind the news team as the interview was being conducted, then opening fire.

Ward captured the shooter's face with his camera as he fell to the ground after being shot.

Local WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, 24, and station photographer Adam Ward, 27, died in the attack. A third person, Vicki Gardner from the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was shot in the back and taken to a hospital. Parker was interviewing Gardner about tourism when the shooter fired an estimated eight rounds around 6:45 a.m.

Flanagan tweeted that Parker had made racist comments and that Ward had reported him to human resources. Flanagan had previously sued a Tallahassee, Florida, news station for racial discrimination, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. 

WHSV reports that the suspect was initially described as "a light-skinned black man who is 6-feet-3-inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds."