Former Reporter Guns Down News Crew On Live Television

2BADFE1100000578-3211529-image-a-31_1440598581548We often discuss the “perils of the press” in humorous stories of the unexpected for journalists. However, we are often reminded of the dangers faced by reporters in their daily jobs. Today offered one such tragic example from Moneta, Virginia. Vester Lee Flanagan, who used the name on-air of Bryce Williams, shot and killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. He then posted the filmed event and tweeted about it. It is a bizarre and chilling example of how social media has become intertwined with such crimes in our society. Flanagan later shot himself in a confrontation with police.

2BAE86CD00000578-3211529-Unfathomable_Vester_Lee_Flanagan_tweeted_what_appeared_to_be_an_-a-82_1440603531216wdbj+gunman+imageFlanagan (shown left) said that Parker made “racist comments” and that he had filed a complaint was filed against her through the equal employment opportunity commission. Ward had worked with Flanagan and he said that Ward had complained about having to work with him. He then shared his attack on Twitter. Parker, 24, and Ward, 27, died at the scene while the woman being interviewed was rushed to Roanoke Memorial Hospital for emergency surgery.

Ward was engaged to Melissa Ott, a news producer who was working on the show and watched from the control room as the shooting happened. This was her last day on the job because she was about to start a new job in Charlotte, North Carolina and Ward planned to move with her. The office-mates had just thrown a party that morning for her.

These cases often raise civil liability for the employer. While the criminal case is apparently closed given the statements and film of the deceased, families can sometimes sue over the failure of an employer to warn them or take some action.  In this case, it appears that Flanagan is no longer working for the station so that insulates the studio to some extent.  There can be questions however is anyone had reason to know of a violent predisposition or targeting of these victims. There is no indication of such forewarning or prior indications of violence at this time.  This type of delayed and unhinged response is very difficult for anyone to foresee and an employer cannot monitor former employees for years.

I can only imagine the grief of these families and survivors when faced with such a senseless act. The chilling combination of social media deepens the unfathomable aspects of this double murder.

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The video is graphic and available here

335 thoughts on “Former Reporter Guns Down News Crew On Live Television”

  1. Annie,
    Be thankful it wasn’t a spork. That’s all I gotta say on the subject…

    1. Max-1 and Inga – clearly you do not watch enough Hong Kong kung fu films. Forks can be very dangerous.

  2. Olly,
    Are you suggesting that mentally unstable people should be free to be in possession of a firearm?

    1. Max

      You raise an interesting issue kind of along the lines of what Annie was saying: do crazy people have the right to self defense?

      Now the main issue with crazy people getting their hands on guns is what they do after that. If they stay at home nobody much cares. I don’t anyway. If people have the right to their body they should be able to commit suicide, right?

      Frankly, most of police shootings in homes involving a disturbed person, anectdotaly at least, don’t happen because that person pulls a gun. Its everything from a shoe horn to a ladle to them being noncompliant.

      As I recall, back in the Middle Ages in places like Okinawa the overlords would keep a knife chained up in the town square because the people were not allowed to have something used for a weapon at home.

      So maybe crazy people can get a revolver on a bike chain secured in their bathroom for self defense because if illegals have that right so do they.

      Felons, for that matter, can get a muzzleloader or cap and ball revolver-through the mail no less. Good enough for Josey Wales.

      As to what Annie said, if she wants illegals to carry guns then I think the laws need to be changed.

      I can’t go one state over and buy a pistol from a dealer. I don’t think I can buy one from a private seller and bring it back, legally speaking. Not even if its an act of love.

      I suppose they could drop the age so that an anchor baby can buy one for Papa or Mama or they can add it to the welfare benefits.

    2. The DHS, in conjunction with the VA, has issued a guideline stating that there should be a presumption of mental illness for veterans from Iraq or Afghanistan who express an interest in exercising 2nd Amendment rights. In other words, if they want to exercise the rights for which they fought, then they are mentally ill and therefore ineligible to do so. There’s a Catch-22. While I agree with limiting access to firearms for the mentally ill, the problem with executing that strategy is that the folks that would enforce it also get to define mental illness. In communist countries, disagreeing with the government was considered a mental illness. Since the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to allow us the chance to defend ourselves against our own government, allowing that same government to decide whether or not we are allowed to own and use the means of that defense is illogical. Yet, how can you have a completely independent process that is effective and cannot be usurped by a corrupt government?

  3. How many people can a crazy guy kill with a fork in 10 minutes, how many with an automatic weapon?

  4. “Why not make mental instability while in possession of a firearm, a crime also?”

    How would you enforce that? Let me rewrite that for you; Why not make mental instability while in possession of a weapon, a crime also? Now what weapons do you ban? forks, knives, anvils, baseball bats, toothpicks, machetes, cars, m80’s, etc?

    Use that logic of yours Max, eliminating the firearm still leaves one mentally unstable, right? The problem is not solved by eliminating a particular weapon, you have to actually deal with the mental instability..

  5. Darren,
    Drinking while intoxicated is a crime.
    Why not make mental instability while in possession of a firearm, a crime also?

  6. What I’m puzzeled about is this: Why does any talk of stricter gun registration laws and better enforcement of existing gun laws always boil down to someone panicking about guns being banned?

  7. Using MaxLogic: less blacks = less black violence.

    That would explain why these tools never talk about black on black violence. It would also explain why these pathetic progressives do nothing to stop the systematic slaughter of unborn black children through abortion.

    Nicely done!

  8. The number of firearm related murders is nearly the same as the number of traffic fatalities directly linked to alcohol. Deaths from both are tragic and senseless.

    Should alcohol be banned as well?

  9. When you see the hat and the other troll, the thread is toast. Have they uttered the coward, gay, black, racist killers name yet?

  10. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/27/opinion/lessons-from-the-murders-of-tv-journalists-in-the-virginia-shooting.html?_r=0

    ■ More Americans die in gun homicides and suicides every six months than have died in the last 25 years in every terrorist attack and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

    ■ More Americans have died from guns in the United States since 1968 than on battlefields of all the wars in American history.

    ■ American children are 14 times as likely to die from guns as children in other developed countries, according to David Hemenway, a Harvard professor and author of an excellent book on firearm safety.

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