(ROANOKE, Va.) — The cameraman who was killed in the on-air shooting in Virginia Wednesday filmed his attacker being fired from their news station two years prior, according to court records.
Details about the February 2013 firing of Vester Lee Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams professionally, have emerged as part of the public court filings in relation to a lawsuit he filed against his former employer, WDBJ. The suit was dismissed in July 2014.
The 167-page file from Roanoke City General District Court documents a series of alleged issues with his former employer — for whom the victims, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, also worked — according to memos written to and about Flanagan by station management.
The note about the firing being filmed came amid a description of how Williams became volatile and verbally aggressive after being told about his firing and severance.
When he was escorted back to his desk, two local police officers were on hand, alternating between trying to calm him down and physically moving him from his desk.
“This was being recorded by Adam Ward; Bryce turned his attention to him and said something about paparazzi, told Adam he needed to “lose your big gut,” and again flipped the camera off,” the memo notes.
That memo, which appears to be written by the station’s then-news director Dan Dennison, was one in a series of his notes and emails that were included in the file.
Dennison had previously written a note to Williams, detailing six criticisms of his recent work and journalistic failings.
“These issues combined with other well documented and discussed issues in recent months have led us to a serious juncture,” Dennison wrote in an email dated Dec. 24, 2012.
The details about Flanagan’s firing come as investigators probe his mental state and actions leading up to the deadly shooting on Wednesday in Moneta, Virginia.
Flanagan died later that day as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound he sustained during a highway chase with state police.
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