Home / National News / Ex-Employee Caught in Connection to On-Air Virginia Shooting


(MONETA, Va.) — Police have caught a reporter they were seeking in relation to the on-air shooting that left two dead in Virginia Wednesday morning .

Vester Lee Flanagan, who is known professionally as Bryce Williams, had been identified by the Augusta County Sheriff’s office.

The Virginia State Police reported that at 11:30 a.m. they spotted his vehicle and tried to pull him over but he sped away before his car “ran off the road and crashed.”

When troopers approached the vehicle, they “found the male driver suffering from a gunshot wound,” and he has been transported to a nearby hospital, state police said in a Facebook post. His condition is unclear.

Sometime between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, ABC News received a fax from someone claiming to be Bryce Williams. It is a lengthy document: 23 pages. ABC News has turned it over to authorities.

Alison Parker, 24, and Adam Ward, 27, were killed in the field during a live news segment in Moneta, Virginia, according to their station, WDBJ-TV, a CBS affiliate serving the Roanoke-Lynchburg television market.

A third person, Vicki Gardner, was injured in the shooting but is out of surgery and in stable condition, Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital said.

WDBJ president and general manager Jeffrey A. Marks confirmed that Williams used to work at the station but was dismissed two years ago. Marks described him as “an unhappy man” and was dismissed after he “quickly became known for a reputation for being difficult to work with.”

Marks said Williams was “looking out for people to say things that he would take offense too.”

The shooting was reported at 6:45 a.m. and took place at Bridgewater Plaza, a recreational facility with shops, restaurants, a mini golf course and boat rentals, where Parker and Ward were reporting on tourism.

Marks went on air Wednesday morning, confirming the two deaths and noting that both victims were in relationships with other staffers at the station.

Marks said it was his “very very sad duty” to report their deaths, and noted that the shooting is under investigation. “We have other members of the team with us today holding back tears, frankly,” Marks said.

He said Parker was a graduate of James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, while Ward was a graduate of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Marks and the anchors confirmed on air that Ward’s fiancee was a morning producer at the station who was celebrating her last day at work Wednesday before starting a new job. Parker reportedly brought in balloons as part of the celebration before going out for the fatal live report.

Jay Webb, the news director at ABC affiliate station WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg (about two hours away) who had previously worked at WDBJ for several years, said he knew both victims.

“Unthinkable,” he told ABC News Wednesday morning, adding that he was especially close to Ward. “It’s a very hard time in our newsroom here this morning, as it is, I’m sure, across newsrooms across the country this morning.”

He said he also knew Parker because she recently interned at his station before getting the job at WDBJ, which is owned by Schurz Communications of South Bend, Indiana.

“Alison was vibrant,” he said. “Both extremely good people, will be missed.”

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Recent posts in National News