In Depth

Who is Bryce Williams and why did he kill TV duo live on air?

Virginia gunman sent fax claiming he was 'human powder keg' and said Charleston shooting was 'tipping point'

150827_bryce_williams.jpg

The man who shot dead a television reporter and cameraman live on air yesterday in Virginia appears to have faxed ABC News a 23-page suicide note and manifesto before he shot himself.

Bryce Williams, whose legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan II, died from the self-inflicted shot wound hours after the attack at Smith Mountain Lake, Moneta.

More details have since emerged about the 41-year-old former WDBJ reporter, who killed two of his ex-colleagues Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward during a live broadcast.

So who was Bryce Williams?

Originally from California, Williams studied broadcast journalism at San Francisco State University and worked as a reporter at several news stations, including WDBJ, the CBS-affiliated television station in Virginia where Parker and Ward were employed.

WDBJ said he worked from the station from March 2012 until February 2013, but was an "unhappy" man. "He quickly gathered a reputation of someone who was difficult to work with," said WDBJ president Jeffrey Marks. "He was sort of looking out to people to say things he could take offence to. Eventually, after many incidents of his anger, we dismissed him. He did not take that well. We had to call police to escort him from the building."

Williams later filed an action with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission making several complaints about staff allegedly making racial comments. However, Marks says none of them could be corroborated and the company believed them to be fabricated.

What was his motive?

Shortly after the shooting, Williams posted a series of messages on social media, including his own video of the attack. He claimed: "Adam went to HR on me after working with me one time!!!" and "Alison made racist comments" – an allegation later dismissed as "just not believable" by WDGJ president Jeffrey Marks.

A fax was also sent to ABC News from someone claiming to be Williams. In the 23-page document, the sender talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers.

He claims his "tipping point" was the Charleston shooting in June, when Dylann Roof, a white 21-year-old, was charged for the murder of nine black people. "What sent me over the top was the church shooting," wrote the author. "And my hollow point bullets have the victims' initials on them. As for Dylann Roof? You ****! You want a race war ****? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE ****!!!"

The sender claimed he put down a deposit for a gun on 19 June, two days after the Charleston shooting, but says his anger had been "building steadily" beforehand. He adds: "I've been a human powder keg for a while... just waiting to go BOOM!!!!

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