tv MSNBC Live With Thomas Roberts MSNBCW August 26, 2015 10:00am-12:01pm PDT
hi, everybody, i'm thomas roberts. major breaking news and fluid developments after a roanoke tv reporter and her videographer were shot and killed on morning tv during the morning news for station viewers to witness. officials from the franklin county sheriff's office are going to update this investigation, also update the capture of the alleged shooter. vester lee flanagan, also known as bryce williams. flanagan is a former reporter and co-worker of the people that were killed. authorities say the alleged 41-year-old shooter shot himself in his car when he was approached by police. he is a former reporter for the station, dismissed two years ago according to wdbj in roanoke. twitter and facebook accounts believed to have belonged to the suspect posted video of the shootings as well as tweets apparently justifying why he did
it. both social media accounts have been suspended. the victims have been identified as 24-year-old reporter alison parker and her photographer, 27-year-old adam ward. it all happened just before 7:00 this morning when parker was conducting a live interview with a local chamber of commerce member, vicki gardner. now, we're only going to show you a portion of the video, and i warn you, it's very disturbing. >> this is our community and we want to come together. we want to share information that can help us grow and develop to provide a better experience. we're seeing tourism. we want the people that come here to say -- >> so right after that, that's when the shots rang out. vicki gardner, the woman being interviewed, was shot. she survived, rushed to the hospital and after surgery listed in stable condition. all of this hitting the wdbj family very hard. the station paying tribute to their lost colleagues on their facebook page. but within the last hour that station's general manager let his personal feelings and anger be known.
>> i think i'm going to step out of my role as a former journalist and say i'm not really sure whether i want him to live or die. if he dies, then he took the coward's way out. and if he lives, he goes on trial and goes to prison for the rest of his life. >> that was the general manager, jeff marks, talking right there. moments after that television station was notified that flanagan was alive. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams has been following this story from the d.c. bureau. pete, bring us up to speed the very latest on this. the initial reports were that flanagan was sought by police and during that pursuit shot and killed himself. that quickly changed. >> reporter: what the authorities are now saying is that he has life-threatening injuries and has been taken to the hospital, according to the virginia state police. he was spotted in his car driving on interstate 66 a good deal away from roanoke. closer to the washington, d.c., area. the virginia state police patrol officer put on the red lights, began to try to pull the car
over. they say instead the car carrying the suspect sped up and eventually crashed. when the authorities approached the car, they saw that he had had a gunshot wound when they described as life threatening. they say he was taken to a nearby hospital. another law enforcement official has told us that as the police approached the car, that's when vester flanagan, that's the name of the suspect, that's when he shot himself. initial reports were that the shot was fatal. but now the virginia authorities say it's life threatening, and we don't have an update on his condition. the woman that you talked about, vicki gardner of the smith mountain lake regional chamber of commerce, she was wounded in the shooting this morning on the live broadcast and as you say she had been treated at a hospital and is said to be in stable condition. now, just shortly, about an hour or two after the shooting, there began to appear on social media postings apparently by vester
flanagan that showed video which authorities believe he himself took as he was conducting the shooting this morning. he posted that video and also a number of comments about the victims seeking to in essence explain, if there is such a word, explain why he was doing what he did. but almost within minutes after that material was posted, it was taken down apparently at the request of law enforcement because they wanted to be the only ones communicating with him. they did not want to give him that forum through social media. a search went on along the virginia highways. at one point authorities thought they had his car spotted. it turned out not to be his car. authorities believed that at some point after the shooting he changed cars. he may have rented a car and then proceeded on. they finally got the right description of the vehicle and it was all over at 11:30. >> it's been amazing, pete, as we've been watching this unfold since 6:45 a.m. this morning.
again, that's when these local tv station reporters were doing a live shot and they were fired upon, allegedly by vester flanagan. again, a dismissed former employee from the same station, worked with these two. we've seen images on social media of them together. pete, do you know more, though, about the timeline? and again, just to inform our viewers, 2:00 p.m. we're waiting for franklin county sheriff's office to give us an update. but do you know more about the timeline of when police were able to get a lead on flanagan? and how that corresponds with those social media postings that he was able to upload via twitter and facebook? >> reporter: getting a lead on him happened very quickly after the shooting because there is a freeze frame, a still frame that police were able to take from the actual camera that the cameraman was holdings. this is it. several frames of video apparently show the suspect
actually either just about to or having just fired shots at the cameraman. the picture is on its side. you have to imagine this picture being turned to the side the way it would normally be, a normal television screen being horizontal format. you see the camera is turned on its side and that's why you see the picture. we've righted it up so you can see him the way it would normally be. this is one of the last things that his camera was able to capture as he's lying on the ground and the camera is at his side. so this was a key piece of evidence. and then authorities used a variety of technological techniques to try to follow him. but initially they thought he was in one place and that turned out not to be right, but they were able to within four or five hours finally find him, pull him over and he shot himself, they say. >> all right, pete williams reporting for us out of d.c. pete, thank you very much. and again this has all been very fluid. again, the initial reports that
he had been shot, self injured after this police pursuit and believed to not still be with us and then there was a quick update to that just after noon where wdbj had told everybody that they were informed personally by the virginia state police that he was alive, he is now listed in critical condition. again, the two people that were lost, 24-year-old reporter alison parker, 27-year-old adam ward, who was her photographer on the scene there. a live shot this morning at 6:45 a.m. this has capped toured the attention of the white house. josh earnest, white house spokesperson, speaking about it minutes ago. >> this is another example of gun violence that is becoming all too common in communities, large and small, all across the united states. and while there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence in this country, there are some common sense things that only congress can do that
we know would have a tangible impact in reducing gun violence in this country. and congress could take those steps in a way that would not infringe on the constitutional rights of law-abiding americans. >> again, we are still waiting for an update from the franklin county sheriff's office. we expect them to hold a press conference at 2:00 p.m. they were going to give us a 1:00 update but now it's been pushed to 2:00 p.m. we'll carry that for you live. as soon as that happens. but hallie jackson joins me on the telephone right now. you have more information on alison and adam, how they're being remembered today at their station, and i think for anybody out there that knows how we come up in this business, a lot of us get our army stripes going through these local tv stations. you're a very close-knit type family. >> reporter: and that's the thing. it shouldn't surprise anybody who came up through local news that adam was engaged to a morning show producer at the
station. alison was involved with one of the anchors. you become very close. it's like family. you're forged through the fire in the morning live shots and late live shots. it's our understanding that alison and adam had been working together for a while. you know this, thomas, in local news. it's just you and your photographer. you're driving around in a live truck together or in your suv and you become quite close. alison had graduated from james madison university in 2012. and one of her jobs prior to coming to roanoke was at a station in north carolina. i spoke with that news director earlier today and he said the station is devastated. i asked what are your coverage plans for alison? he said we want to celebrate her life. we want to pay tribute to this remarkable young woman who is like a bright light. she never had a bad day, she was always smiling. adam had graduated from virginia tech and you heard one of his professors earlier in the day say that picture of adam where he's smiling and in his sweatshirt, that's who he is. just always willing to chip in, always willing to help. both of them of course had come
up through sort of that local news environment. both of them as has been pointed out by their colleagues at that television station in roanoke, wdbj, both of them just out there doing their jobs this morning. >> yeah, doing their job and this former employee, vester flanagan, also known as bryce williams, former reporter at this station, posted videos online. a first-person perspective. hallie, it's just chilling the images that we were able to see. we are not going to be showing those images. he communicated those via facebook and twitter, also communicating potentially reasons why he felt in his own mind justified in doing this. but it is still just heart wrenching when you see this, especially knowing that these are two kids that have come up through the virginia schools in salem and also i know alison went to jmu, adam going to virginia tech. their families may have been watching this. so we want to be very sensitive to just exactly what we're
showing, especially when these images really are so disturbing. hallie jackson, thanks so much. >> reporter: i was just going to add, what you saw this morning some of those images and tweets began circulating on social media, you saw an outcry of others say do not repost, do not retweet. that is only feeding this person, this individual, the shooter essentially. yeah, your hearts go out to their parents, such young kids. >> nbc's hallie jackson. thanks so much. i want to go now to nbc news contributoring correspondent, chief investigative reporter for wnbc, we just got from new york mayor bill de blasio, he tweeted about the incident and talking about new york security, saying no indication of threat but following the tragic shooting in virginia, nypd taking extra precautions to ensure nyc news
safety today. >> first on the new york angle, the nypd does this any time there's a major incident in case of copy-cats or in case there's another reason. today it's workplace violence but a host of threats and concerns. they instantly deploy critical response vehicles and they did that to every television station across the area as a precaution until they could figure out what was happening. and then once they learned that it's a workplace violence, then they tamp it down. i think what was most shocking and what stands out most about this is, one, it's on live television. two, the number of shots. first you heard the reports, five, six. but when you listen to that tape, more than a dozen. police will have to count exactly how much shots fired in that incident. and third, the shocking, disgusting social media postings where the suspect is apparently holding the gun in one hand and a camera in the other, filming the actual event and posting that. it just was heartbreaking and
these two up-and-coming, happy, loved, respected journalists gunned down that never even saw him coming because they were busy doing their work as they do every morning, 6:45 in the a.m. and the suspect apparently just stalked them and tracked them down. >> the 27-year-old adam ward was dating and engaged to the morning show producer who was going to be moving on to a new job, i believe. alison, who you see right there, she was dating the evening news anchor, had been for about nine months but they haven't publicly disclosed that until today. chris hurst, who is working the 6:00 and 11:00 shows there talked about now devastating this is but he's been comforted by the support of the community and knowing alison's loving family, but there's an image of them together that revealed their relationship. but this is just so striking to everybody, especially as you talked about, jonathan, the fact that there's this first-person perspective of the fact that allegedly, you know, camera
rolling, we don't know if it's a gopro or zone iphone but capturing all of this, capturing this live shot and walking up and drawing that weapon and unloading. >> on a personal nature, adam warden gauged of the the producer who he was engaged to was in the control room handling the morning show and witnessing this as it happened. the station had been waiting for this reporter and cameraman to come back because they were going to have a party for that producer who was moving on to a new job the next day, so it was supposed to be a day of fun and celebration in that newsroom once they finished doing the job that they needed to do for that morning show. and then unexpectedly, tragically, this gunman emerged. >> again, senseless. still waiting on a motive. we'll get an update from the franklin county sheriff's office at 2:00 p.m. jonathan, thank you, sir, i appreciate it. as we go to break, we'll take a quick break but leave you with this. it's video of 24-year-old alison
parker talking about one of the brighter spots in her life. >> the most thrilling thing i've ever done, i took a trip to the grand canyon with my family, and we went horseback riding down the grand canyon. it was supposed to be a guided tour. and our tour guide said, oh, i'll catch up with you and he never did. and once we got to the bottom, the horses just took off because they had done that run so many times, they knew exactly where they were going. but it was a very bumpy ride, very scary, and my parents were praying that i was holding on and was okay, but we made it and it was really fun and i'll always remember it. can you spot the difference? the wind farm on the right was created using digital models and real world location-based specs that taught it how to follow the wind. so while the ones on the left are waiting, the ones on the right are pulling power out of thin air. pretty impressive, huh? now, two things that are exactly the same have have never been more different.
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welcome back, everybody. we continue to follow the breaking news developments out of virginia after two people were gunned down on live television today in roanoke. the alleged shooter is a former employee of the same television station, wdbj. his name is vester flanagan. police were able to pursue and apprehend flanagan later in the day. this is new video, though, of how he was taken out of his vehicle after allegedly shooting himself. you can see on the top left of your screen he was taken out of that vehicle, but there is a stretcher then loading him into an ambulance. now, it was earlier today that there were reports by the virginia state police that flanagan was dead. it was shortly after noon that was adjusted and wdbj had reported, saying they were directly contacted by the virginia state police saying that he was alive and listed in kris cal condition. all of this started to unfold this morning after 6:45 a.m. when two local journalists from that station, wdbj, were doing a
live shot for their early morning show. and that's when flanagan walked up on them, actually shot video of what he was doing from a first-person perspective, and opened fire on his former colleagues. 24-year-old alison parker and the videographer, 27-year-old adam ward. my colleague, frances rivera, is following the reaction we've been witnessing on social media and how pervasive this has been, frances, because that's how flanagan -- that's what flanagan used to get his message out, especially that chilling video. >> the live tweeting, we did hear from hundreds and thousands of people on social media reacting to this shooting. right now 5400 tweets per hour on #virginia and #virginiashooting of the all those hash tags and others, many have been sharing their condolenc condolences. senator tim kaine tweeted this about the tragedy in his home state saying heartbroken by the
senseless tragedy in moneta this morning. deepest sympathies to loved ones of alison and adam and the entire wdbj 7 family. also hillary clinton tweeted that she is heartbroken and angry, adding this, we must act to stop gun violence and we cannot wait any longer. praying for the victims' families in virginia. dr. ben carson also offering their prayers. these words of comfort are meant for the loved ones of the victims, like wdbj evening anchor chris hurst. now, he had just moved in with the victim, alison parker, a reporter at the same station, and he shared this tweet. she was the most radiant woman i ever met. for some reason she loved me back. she loved her family, her parents and her brother. they had wanted to marry. msnbc's luke russert also praised ward saying his last act was capturing an image of the suspect. the suspect shot himself. ellen degeneres also shared this
on twitter. my heart goes out to the two journalists who were shot in virginia this morning. my show airs on wdbj 7 every day. sending love to you all. also gabrielle giffords tweeted this. horrified to hear that two young journalists were shot and killed doing the job they loved. praying for the wdbj family. the #guncontrol is also starting to trend here, sparked by this act. and also just in the last ten, 15 minutes, jeb bush just tweeted, quote, shocked by the horrific murders in roanoke. we are praying for alison, adam and all those affected. also, thomas, one of the most outstanding moments from the coverage this morning from wdbj came when the general manager spoke, of course saying frank low that he's stepping out of his role as a journalist and he said frank low i don't know if i want him to live or die, referencing the suspect. but also speaking about that suspect during their coverage
described him as an unhappy man. eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the forefront, we dismissed him. again, the words of the general manager of the station. they filed an action, eeoc, accused staff of making racial comments. none could be corroborated. we thought that they were fabricated. so those words coming, and a very tough day as they continue their coverage here, touching so close to home with people who love them and who knew them so well. >> frances, thank you very much. and again just point out for our viewers, franklin county sheriff's office officials will hold a 2:00 p.m. press conference and hopefully give us more insight as to why a disgruntled employee let go over two years ago from that tv station in roanoke would show up this morning on a live shot and assassinate two of his former colleagues on live television.
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and he had some talent in that respect and some experience, although he had been out of the business for a while when he was hired here. he quickly became -- gathered a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with, would you say, joe deshiel? he was looking out for people to say things that he could take offense to. and eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. he did not take that well. we had to call the police to escort him from the building. since then -- well, he then filed an action with the equal opportunity employment commission in which he made all kinds of complaints.
there may have been one about alison or adam, i frankly don't remember. but about members of the staff making racial comments. he was african-american. none of them could be corroborated by anyone. we think they were fabricated. but just as an insurance policy, we went around and talked to all of our employees who might have been able to be exposed to this and we have a pretty diverse workplace. and we got nothing about that. and the equal employment opportunity commission dismissed that and that was that. >> that was wdbj president and general manager, jeffrey marks, giving a little background information on the former employee, vester flanagan, when he worked for that station over two years ago and what it was
like for their colleagues there and giving some reasoning as to why he was on their radar, especially after this morning. and two employees being killed on the air by flanagan, colleagues, former colleagues of his, he went after them. nbc news justice correspondent pete williams has been following the story and he joins me now. pete, you have an update about flanagan? >> reporter: thomas, we believe he's been taken to a washington, d.c., suburban hospital, a fairfax hospital. we're waiting of confirmation of that from the hospital. but we've seen a helicopter land there. now, this is the scene from i-66 where authorities say he was apprehended after he ran off the road, crashed his car. law enforcement officials say they went up to the car and at that point, and you can just see -- you just got a glimpse of them with a patient on a gurney there, now moving it off to a hospital -- or to an ambulance. from there it was taken to a helicopter and we believe the
helicopter then flew him to a washington, d.c., hospital. we do not know his condition. i see on the screen it says critical condition. i have to be honest and say i don't know where that is coming from. that may be accurate, i just don't know that myself. the virginia state police say when they found him, he had a gunshot wound. the statement from virginia police say that when they approached the car, they found the driver suffering from a gunshot wound. a separate law enforcement official had told us that as the police approached the car, he shot himself. the virginia state police described the wound as life-threatening and then he was eventually loaded into that ambulance, taken to a waiting helicopter, we believe, and brought here to a washington, d.c., hospital which was the nearest trauma center to where this happened. he was arrested or apprehended a considerable distance from roanoke, closer to washington,
d.c., on interstate 66. that's where it finally happened. the virginia state police say a patrolman was -- a patrol car was in pursuit, turned its red lights on. flanagan they say sped up and then eventually crashed his car. you see it there off to the side of the road. and from there he was recovered and taken to the hospital. >> pete, thanks very much. just to confirm for all of our viewers, the police spoke to our local affiliate that gave the information about him being in critical condition currently. so we'll wait to find out more about where he's been transferred and the extent of his injuries. but we do have someone who grew up with vester flanagan. a man by the name of virgil barker, and he talked to local affiliate kntv about the person he knew. take a listen. >> i heard about the people who got shot. then it came up later on and i recognized it was vester, my neighbor from across the street, the little boy, we grew up together. i'm older than he is, but i'm in
shock right now, everybody. i'm devastated. i don't know what to say. they're already mad at him on tv saying that they hope he gets killed or whatever. he's not that kind of monster, not the one i knew. evidently he just -- something snapped in his mind, i don't know. >> what kind of person was he when you knew him? >> very nice and demure, very personally, well spoken. he was on camera, wasn't he? >> mm-hmm. >> okay. i haven't seen him in years. >> his mother's funeral? >> his mother's funeral, almost eight years ago. right before my mother passed away. and i'm just devastated. >> did he ever have any anger issues? >> no, not at all. the total opposite. >> how so? >> how so? because he was demure. he was very humble. he wouldn't look me in the eye. look at me in the eye, man, we're talking. he would keep his head down.
i don't know what happened. >> that was virgil barker, a man who grew up with vester flanagan, knew him as a young boy. flanagan growing up to be a television reporter working in different local markets around this country. one of his last positions was working as a reporter in roanoke, virginia, at wdbj tv. that's where this morning he walked up on two of his former colleagues and we know now that they are dead after he allegedly opened fire on them and also recorded the whole thing from a first-person perspective. used social media, twitter and facebook, to upload the video and images along with corresponding tweets trying to justify why he did this and also telling everybody, quote, i filmed the shooting, see facebook. there are two different video images that then appear on this twitter feed. the first is 20 seconds long. we are not going to be showing you any of these videos, but i'll describe to you what i witnessed. in the first video, it's 20 seconds and you saw him walking up down a long wooden deck
toward the live shot, where his two former colleagues were interviewing vicki gardner. she is a member of the local chamber of commerce. that video then ends. in the second video, it picks up with him being on top of the trifecta, the way that the interview was taking place, of the reporter on the far left, vicki gardner in the middle, the cameraman facing both of them, not being able to see flanagan behind him. then you see from the perspective of the actual video a gun raise up into the frame and then he begins to fire. these are images that were uploaded, again, via facebook and twitter. those social media accounts were quickly taken down. they are absolutely jarring. he takes first aim at alison parker, just 24 years old, fires several shots at her. then turns the gun on 27-year-old adam ward. one of his last acts as his camera drops to the ground is actually capturing an image of flanagan. as you can see right there, this is the camera tilted on its
side. but you can see flanagan's face on the top right-hand of your screen and the outstretched gun. vicki gardner is the other person who was shot and injured. she was rushed to the hospital. she was in surgery. it is now believed that she will recover, listed in stable condition. we don't know how many times she was fired upon, but we do know that there were definite low a series of 10 to 12 shots that rang out in these two videos that were posted. anthony roman is a security expert and he joins me here on set. anthony, we have the general manager talking, jeffrey marks, to his employees about what it was like to work with vester flanagan, aka bryce williams, that was his reporter name. they had a difficult time. he was let go two years ago. this is not somebody that was really on their radar. then we hear from that neighbor of his, virgil barker, who said he was demure, nice guy.
this is totally out of character. how are people supposed to monitor each another to know when somebody might snap? >> it's very difficult to do that. one of the things employers can do is conduct comprehensive background investigations, to include medical history if the employee will provide that. and that will begin to offer hints. also looking at an employees past background with regard to employment and their personal background. all of that is fair game when you're entertaining hiring a new employee. most employers do a pretty cursory job of that, but never get in depth enough to begin to understand that there may be problems. if you now have an employee that you begin to believe is difficult, passive/aggressive, may have the tendency towards violence, then you really need to intercede, get your in-house counsel involved, get your human resources department involved and your medical department involved.
and if you don't have those resources, contract out for them. because that could be a game-changer. >> so when we think about the person, flanagan, not having worked at this television station for two years, stayed in the area, according to the former colleagues of him, some would run into him at the grocery store, things like that, this is not somebody that was of concern. we are still waiting on the franklin county sheriff's department to update us, and maybe they're going to have some type of better insight or he will have been on their radar. because right now it just seems unfathomable to so many people why this would happen, why target these two young people, while they're doing their jobs, and then the impact of all of this, especially knowing that he waited for the camera to pan back to the reporter, who was interviewing the chamber of commerce member, knowing that would be live. also filming this from the first-person perspective and
uploading it for people to see. >> all horrible. we've had this terrible string of shootings. what we really need to understand is that a two-year period is just about the end of the statistical period when you have to worry about workplace violence. if you terminate someone, if have an encounter with them, it can take up to two years for that to explode into a violent episode. so it really kind of forms an arc with the peak being at one year and then it begins to go downward in terms of your risk and risk assessment. with regard to what his particular problem was, who knows, who knows. it can be anything, perceived, whether he was just unstable, an angry person or actually suffered from mental illness, we won't know. we really need to look at his medical records. >> anthony roman, thanks very much. again, we're waiting for an update from the franklin county sheriff's department. we believe that's going to happen at 2:00.
but alison parker is a graduate, the class of 2012 from jmu. they put out a statement today talking about the fact that she earned her degree in media and arts and design and had a passion for journalism. but she also told us and uploaded to her profile on the station's website about what she thought she was going to be when she was growing up. take a look. >> when i was younger, i was really interested in the math and science fields. those were always my best subjects in school, but i went the journalism route, which is okay. but when i was younger i wanted to either become a doctor or become a pharmacist. but as a journalist, i get to cover those types of fields, so it's close enough. i no ced benny right away. i just had to adopt him. he's older so he needs my help all day. when my back pain flared up we both felt it i took tylenol at first but i had to take 6 pills to get through the day.
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see it there in the center of your screen, veered off the road. apparently virginia state police spotted that vehicle that was headed eastbound on i-66. the imagiemergency traffic ligh were activated. when the troopers initiated a traffic stop, the suspect refused, sped away and minutes later crashed off to the side of the road. virginia state police say then flanagan shot himself. they believed it to be life-threatening injuries. he was taken off, and we had video of that earlier, video of him on a stretcher being loaded into the back of an ambulance. our pete williams saying that he was going to be moved -- he had updated information -- to a hospital closer to washington, d.c. flanagan was wanted after taking aim and opening fire on live television this morning after two of his colleagues for roanoke tv station wdbj, were on an early morning live shot interview with the chamber of commerce, and they were on the air at 6:45 a.m.
he stalked them, walked up on their shot and then opened fire. what's the most disturbing part about all of this is the fact that before being captured, before running himself off the road and taking a shot at himself trying to end his own life, he updated his social media accounts through his reporter name, bryce williams, and he updated five different tweets. they were about the individuals that he fired upon, which are alison parker, 24 years old, who is deceased. the videographer, 27-year-old adam ward, who is also deceased. saying different disparaging things about them. and then in his fifth tweet saying i filmed the shooting. see facebook. now two different video images then appear in his timeline on twitter. the first being 20 seconds long and this is where flanagan films himself, a first-person perspective, walking down the long wooden deck to where the live shot was taking place.
in the second video, which is 25 seconds long, you see then where he moves back and forth around the live shot location to the left of alison parker, then to the right of adam ward, and then you see a gun in his left hand enter the frame of the video and he begins firing on alison parker. then takes aim at adam ward. the interview subject, a woman by the name of vicki gardner, who's with the local chamber of commerce, she was also injured, wounded, taken to the hospital. she's been through surgery and it is believed that she will recover and survive. i want to bring in now jim cavanaugh, an msnbc analyst and retired atf special agent, and clint van zandt, former fbi profiler. clint, let me start with you about trying to build a profile and backfilling. what we'd try to make of why a person who is a former reporter at this television station, dismissed two years ago, would
show up randomly and open fire on two former colleagues. >> yeah. well, i guess first, thomas, and i'm sure you believe too, i don't think this is random. i think this is planned. as an employee of this station, former employee, he would have known perhaps how to find out what assignments they were on. he had made allegations that the station tells us there's nothing to support whatsoever against two of the people he killed. this is somebody jim or i would call an offense gatherer or ana. somebody in the workplace or life who wants to blame others for his own failings so he gathers up these offenses and puts them in his little lockbox and holds on to them until the final time his emotions are spilling over. he's got to blame somebody for every failure in life, so he acts out like this, he writes this manifesto, 20 something
pages, 23 pages, he sends it to the television station. he films it because all he's trying to do, thomas, is two things. number one, say look at me, i'm a victim. and number two, say look at me, i'm justified in killing these people. and then of course he shoots himself to prevent the world, law enforcement, criminal justice and the media from holding this guy up to the light of day and saying, excuse me, your allegations appear to be false. you're simply a coward and a killer. >> meanwhile, we are unsure whether or not he will survive the sustained injuries, self-inflicted, according to the ve virginia state police. he is currently getting treatment at a d.c. based hospital. when we look at how all of this correspondences to the timeline. i was able to look at his twitter feed and it was roughly 11:15 that his reporter twitter feed under the name bryce williams, that's when it first started to appear fresh tweets.
he hadn't tweeted under that account since august the 20th. but fresh tweets aimed at his former colleague, alison parker. but police were really already on his tail by then trying to figure out how to track down who had done this horrendous action on live television at 6:45 in the morning. >> right, thomas. well, look, law enforcement knew who he was right off the bat because when they looked at the camera video from adam ward and clint mentioned this earlier, they would have seen his face. there's only 50 employees at the station. and so they would have known who it was. and they would have started their efforts to find him. now, the drive time from where he shot himself to where he killed these two reporters is, you know, about four-hour drive. i've made that drive on that highway many, many times on the way to washington, d.c., and back. it's about a four -- three and a half, four hour drive. so most of the time after the two murders, he was driving and
probably stopping at some time to tweet and send his 23-page missive off if he didn't send it the night before. that's not quite enclosure when it was send to abc news. >> you're talking about a 23-page fax that abc news allegedly got, just to clarify for our viewers, that allegedly came from flanagan. >> yeah. and we don't know when and where that was sent from, so that's a little bit unclear. but these tweets and the videos, all that is happening after the killings. and while he's probably pulled off to the side of the interstate. he also switched cars. pete williams reported on that, that he had switched cars. it's unclear if that's another car that he owned, a rental car. but the trooper either spotted the car that was wanted or they had some help from, you know, gps equipment or air assets and put him in that area. the trooper spun around on him, i've done that myself on a uniformed officer on killers. the vehicle description is out, they're coming the other way on
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welcome back, everybody. fluid developments waiting on the right-hand side of the screen the franklin county sheriff's office to have a press conference to update us on the investigation. on the left-hand side of the screen, these are aerial images, the scene earlier on i-66 as police were able to capture vester flanagan. also known as bryce williams. when he was a reporter for wdbj. flanagan is the person that was wanted by authorities after opening fire on his two former colleagues this morning, 6:45 a.m. as they were doing a live shot and they were taking this live shot from bridgewater plaza in virginia talking with a local member of the chamber of commerce. flanagan walked up on the two former colleagues from a position where he was shooting eater from a goproor an iphone. he uploaded two different videos
showing how he walked up, stalked up on the live shot that was being conducted by the reporter alison parker on your left. adam word on the right the videographer and then showed the firearm being raised in the left hand and he opened fire first on alison parker and then opened fire on the videographer adam ward, also wounded in that melee was vicki gardner, the chamber of commerce member who was rushed to the hospital and taken through surgery. it is expected that she will survive. late this morning, though, that's when cops and investigators were able to catch up with the person of interest that they wanted in this which is vester flanagan. they were able to find him along i-66. he drove the car off the road and trying to take his life and reported that he was deceased. it was then quickly updated by virginia state troopers that he was alive and in critical condition. my colleague francis riviera is
following all of the details with me. hopefully we'll get some more concrete information from the franklin county sheriff's department. we are waiting for them on the right. >> sure. once that happens, of course, we'll bring it to you. from the start of this, virginia governor outspoken and speaking about this and on a radio show when this was unfolding and basically said that they knew the identity of this suspect, this gunman that it was a disgruntled former employee, governor mcauliffe with a statement just moments ago saying the most part after offering the condolences and heartbroken. the most powerful portion of his statement, he says this. as we reflect heavy hearts on that tragedy it is appropriate to ask how to prevent the senseless events in the future. keeping guns out of the hands is not a political issue. thes a matter of ensuring the more people can come home safely at the end of the day. we cannot rest until we have
done whatever it takes to rid our society of preventable gun violence that results in tragedies like the one we are enduring today. that statement coming from virginia governor terry mcauliffe. again, coming out right away as the developments were happening earlier this morning in keeping the public and the residents around that area and the public and media, as well, up to date on what's happening and the information he knew and again that's a statement coming from him now. again, finding out more and await the press conference, expected at the top of the 2:00 hour here eastern time. >> thank you. stay by my side on this. wendy murphy is joining us, attorney, former prosecutor. what goes through your mind trying to build a profile for why this person let go two years ago to show up on a live shot this morning and open fire on the colleagues? >> yeah. i mean, so many questions not only about what was going through his mind but how long was he planning this? he had some advance knowledge of
where they would be. how did he get that knowledge? was he lying in wait? did he happen upon the scene? the scene looks like it was fairly well planned. in virginia, they've got very, very tough homicide laws, capital murder, first-degree and second degree. that is capital case because he killed multiple people at the same time. it's the kind of case that because he boasted about it, confessed to it, bragged about it and apparently planned it, the defense is, if he survives and there's a defense in this case, obviously the option is -- the only option is an insanity claim and where they will claim a man out of his mind with frustration, rage, about the injustices he had endured working at that facility. and that he tried to file suit to obtain some kind of justice and it was unsuccessful and when justice doesn't work sometimes people lose their minds and take
matters into their own hands. it is a vigilante is acceptable -- vigilante justice is acceptable when the world is so mean to you. i don't think that's a defense anybody's going to accept because this is just so over the top vicious and evil and inexplicably hard to understand or comprehend. whatever his explanation, there's no explanation. >> no. it is absolutely grotesque thinking about the way he used social media to try to show everybody exactly what he did. not only assassinating two people on live television this morning while their shot was live on local tv news at 6:45 a.m. while people are getting ready for school and work and posting first person perspective of video he shot himself as he opened fire on his former colleagues and a member of a chamber of commerce being interviewed. she had survived. wendy, stand by for me. if you're just joining me, i'm
thomas roberts. it is the top of the hour on msn msnbc. we are continuing the coverage of the fatal showing of a reporter and her videographer in virginia. officials are updating all of us about this invest any moment. you can see all the microphones that have been assembled right there. a lot of people hoping that they'll provide us with some answers as to why. people in roanoke, virginia, this morning on live television witnessed two people assassinated on local television. the suspect identified as 41-year-old vester lee flanagan and also known as bryce williams. this person being a former reporter and co-worker of the victims of wdbj. authorities say the suspect shot himself in his own car when he was approached by police after being pursued. police say he is in critical condition. kntv spoke with a man who grew up with flanagan and has a totally different perspective.
>> i have fine thoughts of him. i don't look as him as a murderer. he did it and killed himself. i don't look at him that way. so, that's all i have to say, man. i'm still -- i can't swallow it. >> the victims have been i.d.'d as 24-year-old reporter alison parker, 27-year-old photographer adam ward. it all happened just before 7:00 this morning when parker was conducting a live interview with the chamber of commerce member, vicki gardner. we'll only show you a portion of the vid. >> this is our community and we want to come together and share information that can help us grow and develop to provide a better experience. we're seeing tourism. we want the people to come here to say that -- >> right after that the moment shots begin to ring out. screams could be heard. the third victim, vicki gardner rushed to the hospital. went through surgery. listed in stable condition. all of this hitting their co-work earlsali s at wdbj very
and happening on live television in their early morning show at 6:45 a.m. before being picked up by the national broadcast at 7:00 a.m. the station paying tribute to their facebook page. this is what they had to say during the coverage this morning. >> two friends, two co-workers, families have lost their daughter, their son, fiancee, girlfriend, you know? these two were more than what you saw here on tv. they were much, much more. and their family and we have lost two members of our family. >> again, we are waiting for the update from the franklin county sheriff's office and we have the angles covered for you. joining sme the chief investigative reporter and jon, jonathan, what more have we learned about the work history of flanagan? people would be surprised to learn he has been disassociated with this newsroom for two years. >> it's the general manager come out and said there have been a
lot of issues. he was hired two years ago. worked about eight months at station and let him go, that he was very difficult to work with, this according to the general manager and made climbs that racial statements had been made about him in the newsroom. the general manager said they investigated. he continued to make the allegations against numerous different employees. and that they just had a tough time with him in the newsroom and that they eventually let him go and that he did not want to leave the day they fired him. that they had to call police to have him removed from the television station. that according to the general manager and he later filed a complaint against the station, unclear where that ever went. and then he reemerges today apparently targeting these two staffers, the reporter, the photographer. who he also accused of mistreating him during his years there. so this appears to be some sort of premeditated revenge.
the question is where did he get the gun? how did he get the gun? the getaway after the shooting. he shoots the screw, multiple shots, perhapless more than a dozen and makes the getaway. an it now appears he rented a car to make that getaway and police try to track him, the cell phone pings on his cell. and several hours away on that interstate. they get on to his vehicle, they follow him. he drives off the road. and apparently shoots himself in that vehicle. the initial reports from police was that he had died. but he's in extremely critical condition with life threatening injuries. and the investigation continues into why he did this, where he got that rental car, where he got the gun and but workplace violence and anger appears to be the main motive. >> adam ward, 27-year-old, the videographer engaged to the
morning show producer who was actually in the booth when all of this was happening, melissa ott, moving on to a new job in a different market. but they were engaged to be married. one of his last acts was able to capture as the camera he was holding fell to the ground, captured the face of flanagan holding the weapon over him continuing to fire. have you been able to telegraph how police were able to catch up with flanagan after a positive i.d. and potentially switching cars and undating twitter and facebook? how all of that corresponds? >> key that's the key point. the image they were able to look at. they obviously used to work with this guy. so they're able to quickly i.d. him and then again the technology existed now to track the cell phone, social media.
social media is extraordinary and sickening in terms of how this suspect and what this suspect posted. he posted this video of him carrying out the shooting himself apparently with the one in hand. the camera in another approaches from behind. the photographer and reporter and the interview subject and never saw him coming and opened fire and a couple of hours later after the incident driving, making the getaway, posts this on social media with several rants. he apparently faxed a manifesto to at least one news organization. trying to claim or explain away why he did what he did. and police again looking into all of this to determine when he first came up with this plan to target his former co-workers. >> we saw someone walk up to the microphone and they said roughly five minutes away from the conference where franklin county
sheriff's officials will brief us on what took this morning. 6:45 a.m. in the morning local television in roanoke, station wdbj, a reporter, 24-year-old alison parker, interviewing a chamber of commerce member, her videographer, adam ward, 27 years old, shooting the whole thing when someone walked upon them and opened fire. all of this happened on live television. it cut back to the anchor in the station and unsure, stunned. what she had just witnessed, didn't compute she had seen two fellow colleagues assassinated on live television. the third person, the woman you see there on the right-hand side of the screen is named vicki gardner. she was also wounded, injured in this gun fire. and she was taken, rushed to the hospital. she is survived after surgery. alison parker, 24-year-old, did not survive. adam ward, 27, did not survive.
it then came to light that one of the last acts that adam ward did was use the camera to capture the face of vester flanagan and there you see it right there as that camera is tipped on the ground giving us a different perspective and altered right side up and see the man holding the gun over the body of adam ward. police were able to quickly put this together. i.d. who the suspect, the person of interest was. able to find him later this morning along i-66. and that's when things all started to come to light that this person, vester flanagan, also known as bryce williams, is a former reporter, former colleague of those at wbdj, someone let go over two years ago. also has a spotty work history. coming up through local markets and having some issues at different television stations around the country. but the general manager and president of wbdj said they took a chance on bryce williams and brought him in to their family but they were unable to continue
working together and let him go. jonathan, you're still with me. have you heard anything about whether or not he was on the station's radar? he didn't get another job. he didn't move out of the market. so this is somebody who could have built up a lot of resentment as he watched former colleagues and their success on local tv, especially after the fact that he tried to unsuccessfully file eeoc complaints against two individuals. >> we want to hear more from the station, the general manager's given a very thorough explainer leading up to the dismissal of the flanagan and a lot of the problems that existed with him leading up to it. we have not heard that much in terms of what he was doing after that. you talk about the chance they took. he had left the news business. he worked as a reporter in several markets and then left and took a job in markets and then as you say this station took a chance on him bringing
him back in, putting him on the air. things did not work out again. described as very difficult to work with. to help you out, you asked me about the tick tock. the shooting took place at 6:45 and believed he came in one vehicle and may have swapped out into a mustang and they believe was rented from an area airport. and it was, you know, they put out an apb and bolto. and then a virginia state police officer a few hours later at 11:30 a.m. spotted the vehicle and that's when the end came with a chase, him driving off the road. and then shooting himself in the n that vehicle. and when this news conference begins, we presume a lot of those details will be filled in. here in new york, when this first happened, the nypd as it often does stepped up security.
dispatched police cars to every television station as a precaution until they could get a grip as to what exactly was happening and taking place. again, it turned out to be a case of workplace violence with former employee targeting two of his former workers, tw of them killed and as you said vicki gardner, being interviewed from the chamber of commerce there, shot and injured. she was shot in the back. went into surgery and now we're told is in stable condition. >> and we are still waiting to get an update, jonathan, on the condition of vester flanagan. again, the original reporting was that he had taken his own life after that police pursuit after they found him on i-66. it was then changed, the fact that he was still alive. and taken out of that vehicle as he crashed off the side of the road there. put into an ambulance and then taken off to a hospital. according to our pete williams. he was then transferred to a facility outside of washington, d.c. so we're waiting on an update on the right-hand side of the
careen from the franklin county sheriff's office. they'll hold a press conference coming up. we expect to hear from the state police and the franklin county sheriff's office. the time line of what they were able to do, how quickly they were able to put it altogether. the shock waves sent through the community in roanoke and the local tv station there of wbdj is hard to even calculate thinking about the fact learn more about alison parker, just turned 24 years old, and her videographer 27-year-old adam ward, who was engaged to the morning show producer who was actually in the booth producing this show when the shots rang out. both alison parker and adam ward are former interns of this station. becoming full-time employees short time ago. alison graduating from jmu. rom virginia tech. both being local kids growing up in the area. and we know that according to
reports that the fiancee of adam ward was moving on to another show, they were planning a party after today's broadcast to congratulate her about moving on to new market. it was also revealed that alison parker was dating the evening news anchor on the 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. newscast. he revealed that they had been dating for the last nine months. and that's something that they hadn't made public but he expressed his grief today via social media and also his heartfelt emotion about what it meant to lose alison in such a grotesque and dramatic way. chris hearst tweeted earlier today and i think we have it. saying we didn't share this publicly but alison parker and i were very much in ve. we just moved in together. i'm numb. we were together almost nine months. it was the best nine months of our lives. we wanted to get married. we just celebrated her 24th
birthday. she was the most radiant woman i ever met and for some reason she loved me back. she loved her family, parents and brother. i'm comforted by everyone at wbdj. we are a family. she worked with adam every day. they were a team. i am heartbroken for his fiancee. according to reports of wbdj, this pair of adam and alison worked together for roughly over a year on the morning show. we know they're tough and grueling schedules. but they had been described as people who accepted all assignments and went out aver and covered everything with a spring in their step and trying to be the best pair and morning pair to be. we know how much all of us rely on our morning shows and having a cup of coffee. they become like family members to all of us as we welcome them no to our homes each and every morning on a constant basis. i think a lot of people have been wondering how the shooter
bryce williams could know or vester flanagan, his formal name, would know where they are. i think for most of us watching local tv news in the morning we recognize that most of the reporters are on the same shot, on the same beat for a couple of different hits before they move on to their next story assignment. maybe he was able to track them down that way. this happening at 6:45 a.m. in the morning and the last live shot of the day. clint van zandt is with us now, a former fbi profiler. hopefully -- we are waiting for the press briefing from the franklin county sheriff's office. hopefully they'll be able to fill in the profile and the back story of what they know about vester flanagan. wait. let me just get this on. pete williams is saying that the gunman is dead. new information that vester flanagan is deceased. he was originally transported
off the scene of the accident on i-66, virginia state troopers say he drove his car off the road. taking a shot at himself. trying to take his own life. before being apprehended. original reports before noon was that he was deceased because of the self-inflicted injury and then that was reversed saying there was a pulse. he was in critical condition. now our pete williams is saying that he has information, fresh information after vester flanagan was taken to a d.c. area hospital for treatment that he is now deceased. so again, we are getting this fresh information in that 41-year-old vester flanagan, the man who is the one that police were looking for after opening fire, two former colleagues of his shot and killed after the live shot they were on this morning, after the live shot they were on this morning, they were approached by flanagan and he opened fire.
killing them both. let's listen in as we have been waiting now for the franklin county sheriff's office and they'll fill us in on the details as they know them. >> test, one, two. everybody hear? >> yes, sir. >> okay. good afternoon. i'm sheriff bill overton with the franklin county sheriff's office. i'm here today with a sorrowful heart from the tragic event that is have taken place earlier this morning. i just want to make sure that through this we continue to keep our prayers and thoughts with the family of alison parker and aaron wade. excuse me, aaron ward. as well as the wdbj channel 7 news family. first and foremost, i'm at approximately 1:30 p.m. today
the suspect from this incident, this shooting, died at fairfax and nova hospital in northern virginia as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. i want to express my condolences to wdbj 7 tv for their loss this morning. we know this has been a very difficult situation to manage, professionally and personally. and we sincerely appreciate their cooperation and assistance with the ongoing investigation and our search efforts. we are keeping miss vicki gardner with the smith lake county region of chamber and commerce as she continues to undergo treatment from injuries sustained in the shooting. i also want to thank the residents of franklin and bedford counties for their
support and vigilance this morning as we conducted our search efforts and response in relations to this incident. the tips and information that came in from our local residents and across the commonwealth have been extremely helpful over the course of the past seven hours. the quick response of this investigation and resolution are due to the dedicated and quick efforts of our public safety partners. with the bedford county sheriff's office, the virginia state police, roanoke city police department, roanoke county police department, atf, u.s. marshal service, the fbi, the virginia department of emergency management and the rocky mountain police department. i can't begin to thank those agencies and their personnel enough for their efforts. at 6:43 a.m. today, the franklin county sheriff's office received
a 911 call concerning shots fired at bridgewater plaza near smith mountain lake. a wbdj news crew was conducting a live interview at the plaza when vester lee flanagan ii age 41 of roanoke suddenly appeared and approached them and started shooting. alison parker, age 24, and adam ward, age 27, died at the scene. both parker and ward were residents of roanoke, virginia. let us not forget they grew up in this area. they were part of our community. we don't want to forget that. miss gardner was transported to the hospital where she is being
treated for nonlife threatening injuries. flanagan then fled before deputies arrived on the scene. the franklin county sheriff's office with the assistance of the virginia state police immediately began a search operation in the area to locate the shooting suspect. shortly before 11:00, roanoke city police department located flanagan's 2009 ford mustang at the regional roanoke regional airport. the mustang had been recovered as evidence. flanagan then left the airport and n a chevrolet sonic that he had rented earlier in the month. during the course of the investigation, investigators were able to track the suspect as he traveled along interstate 81 and were notified local and state law enforcement along the entire interstate 81 corridor to assist us with a look out for a
suspect vehicle. as has been confirmed already, the virginia state police then located the flanagan vehicle on interstate 66 in faulkner county and took him into custody. state police will go into more detail about this shortly. we are still piecing together the timeline of events leading up to this morning shooting. flanagan was a former employee at wbdj-7 and on air went by bryce williams. flanagan sent a lengthy multi-page fax to a national news organization in new york about this incident and our investigators now have a copy of it and it's used in the course of this investigation will be continuing. that's where we are right now. we still have a lengthy investigation to conduct an enthat's our focus as we move forward. i would like to now turn over the mic to sergeant rick garletz
with the virginia state police. >> thank you, sheriff. shortly before 11:30 a.m. this morning, virginia state police trooper pam neff was on patrol along interstate 66. her license plate reader lpr alerted to a license plate on a chevrolet sonic traveling east on 66. she followed the vehicle short distance as troopers responded to assist her before she activated her lights. once that backup was there, she activated her emergency equipment and attempted to stop the vehicle. the driver of the sonic vester flanagan also known as bryce williams refused to stop and sped away from the trooper. it was only a minute or two later when the sonic ran off the road into the median. when trooper neff approached the vehicle, she found flanagan suffering from a self-inflicted
gunshot wound. flanagan was flown from the scene to a nova fairfax hospital where he died at approximately 1:30 p.m. today. the virginia state police bureau of criminal investigation salem field office and our salem bureau of field operations have been and will continue to assist the franklin county sheriff's office with this investigation into the shooting. sheriff. >> thank you very much, sergeant. i will try to entertain some questions you may have at this point in time. i'll take a couple questions. yes, sir? >> how did the suspect know where the victims were? looked like he was planning it for sometime. >> that is a question that we're looking into. did he know before this morning that they would be located at this remote location doing a broadcast? did he see it air that morning? this morning. as many people were watching. we're looking into that matter trying to discover that. >> sheriff, why do you think the
suspect did this? what was the motive for the shooting? >> i'm not sure. we're looking into that. it's -- that he was a prior employee there. we're looking at all of those dimensions. what that may look like. but right now there's not been a motive as per se. many of you have gotten a lot of the correspondence, e-mails that had been sent out. it's obvious that there was -- this gentleman was disturbed in some way of the way things had transpired at some point in his life. it would appear some things were spiraling out of control but we're still looking into that. >> there was a racial component here? as has been reported. >> i have no comment on that at this time. >> sheriff, does this -- >> -- to authorities when he was arrested? >> repeat that. >> did he say anything to authorities when he was arrested? >> i can't answer that at this time. >> sheriff, can you tell us -- >> -- about the fax that was sent to abc news? what are your impressions of it so far? from what you can share.
>> what little bit i've been able to review at this point in time, certainly goes to show where the gentleman's mind was the night before or what was taking place there that there was some forethought given to the chain of events that would happen. >> can you tell us about the license plate reader and how you were able to pick him up? >> sergeant, how instrumental were those license plate readers? >> did someone just eyeball it? >> technology picked it up. the license plate reader once it -- >> move closer to the podium. >> once a license plate is entered into the system, the reader will be able to identify the license plate when it passes. it is not state specific. the trooper has to do an investigation if that's the identity of the vehicle they're looking for. >> how instrumental was it in catching the suspect? >> they're a great tool. the state police has several of them throughout the state.
and it helped. of course, i haven't talked to trooper neff but it helped in this case. >> how instrumental was the video that was aired live and the image of his face that was captured? >> ma'am, i won't comment on that. i have not reviewed the video. i'll defer to the sheriff. it is under investigation. >> sure. >> did that give you guys a lead of who that person was or did you already have a suspicion? >> we were able to from the investigation on scene and secured the scene, we were able to develop mr. flanagan as a potential suspect an we went from there. >> sheriff, the document sent to abc news, they received that yesterday? >> i'll have to confirm that. i'm not sure. >> he said yesterday. >> something they received this morning. >> have you had an opportunity to speak to the general manager. >> step to the podium, please? >> yes. what was the question again? >> have you spoke to the former
employer? what terms did you leave? >> i have no comment on that right now. i haven't devul nged much into that. >> -- trespass -- >> i'm not sure about the trespassing order. i'm not sure what steps they may have taken if there was a need to at this itime. >> -- when did he come into view? >> we're still looking at all possible video. i'm not sure at this point in time if the individuals that were shot and killed even realized that he was there. before the incident happened. >> can you confirm that -- >> sheriff, do you have a personal message to anyone reshowing that message on facebook or twitter? ki you confirm that flanagan posted the videos himself to the website? >> i can't confirm that no.
>> can you tell where the investigation goes from here? >> it's going to be a long investigation because there's a lot of components, certainly to this investigation. and we're still right in the beginning stages of it so it's quite a while. >> what about -- >> yes. that has been officers have secured that area and search warrant will be executed there. >> sir, if no one saw him, would you characterize it as an ambush perhaps? >> we're looking at video to see thousand that transpired. >> was it premed ated? >> yes. >> do you believe that he targeted the two individuals or just the station itself? >> i can't confirm that. i can sit here and second guess or guess myself maybe what that would be. >> are you aware of any other threats to other employees? >> not at this time. >> sheriff -- >> okay? >> how long was he planning this one? >> what do you think? >> three more questions. >> small community. did you know -- parker.
>> i did. it was -- thank you. it was extremely difficult this morning. i'd actually did a remote with miss parker and adam about three weeks ago when our schools opened up here. we did the same type remote in rocky mount. >> how did the news hit you? >> it is really stopped me in my tracks this morning. like many viewers, i was watching this morning's broadcast and couldn't understand really what was happening myself. at that time. >> emotional for you, sheriff? >> very emotional. >> lot of people might have assumed it was an act of terrorism. what difference would it make whether this was person a knew versus someone they didn't? >> right. we're continuing to investigate it as a criminal investigation, a homicide investigation at this time. thank you all very, very much.
please continue to keep the families in your prayers. >> sheriff, thank you so much. >> thank you. >> we've been listening to franklin county sheriff bill overton from the office there giving us an update on the time line and what they can speak to specifically this morning. i'm not sure if we're going to be hearing -- we're hearing more questions being asked? i just want to double check. all right. let's just go back to the live shot, gang, if we could. >> spell your name, sir. >> last game na name is turnbul. i'm spokesperson for the clinic in roanoke, virginia. before i give the status, i want to add sympathy to the family and friends of alison parker and adam ward and they had done a number of broadcasts with us
over the last couple of years and we are saddened today. miss gardner is in our care. she was brought to the hospital this morning. by ambulance. and is currently in stable condition. i don't have any further information at this point in time but i would encourage you to check back with us as we get further along in the situation. thank you. >> could you say anything about the nature of her wounds? >> unfortunately i can't. i don't have that information right now. actually, i guess i can take a second to introduce another individual who knows vicki gardner very well. troy keaton is president of the smith mountain lake regional chamber of commerce and prepared to answer questions from you, as well. >> let me just begin by saying on behalf of the regional chamber of commerce at smith mountain lake, we send condolences to the families of those suffering today at this tragedy and particularly on
behalf of our own executive director vicki gardner, who's an exceptional, bright light in this community. and we stand with her 100% and are praying for her and are thankful that she is in stable condition and is in good hands. her family is with her and her friends are with her and we just want her to know and this community to know that as vicki has been a champion for us for the more than a decade, we'll be a champion for her through this. and we're going do get together as a community and stay together and make it through this. so thank you very much. >> sir, could you spell your name please? >> keaton, first name is -- >> so there we're hearing from troy keaton, president of the smith mountain lake chamber of commerce talking about his colleague vicki gardner wounded in the shooting incident this morning. we heard from chris turnbull, he is from the roanoke memorial hospital, the institution that's
treating ms. gardner there and he would only give an update to the condition and listed in stable. she was rushed to the hospital and went through surgery. obviously, we'll learn more hopefully in the near future about a gunshot injure vis that she sustained but there earlier we heard of bill overton from the franklin county sheriff's office. i have a host of people joining me. wnbc chief correspondent investigator let me go to you first. did we learn anything about the time line of flanagan and authorities know or more interesting to learn about what type of manifesto was faxed to abc? >> a couple of new details. first of all, the sheriff indicated that as early as last night that the suspect was plotting this and perhaps plotting this for quite sometime. clearly premeditated act said by the sheriff and confirming a lot of the time line that we have
been outlining all morning. and detailing how they finally tracked him down. the license plate reader, a key piece here that the rental car he picked up at an airport as he was making his getaway, swapped out vehicles, made the getaway. a license plate reader tracked it, picked it up and they called in backup and then moved in at 11:30 in the morning trying to pull him over. he instead drove off an embankment into the median there and then pulled out a gun and took his own life. the sheriff confirming that the suspect flanagan did die this morning. so those seemed to be two of the newest and information that as last night the planning certainly was well under way and that a license plate reader used to track him. one other point the sheriff said, he themselves was watching this newscast this morning when this happened and he was
shocked. >> so unbelievable. >> did not quite understand what was happening as it was happening and then we see from all the videos throughout the day that, you know, the shooting took place with the suspect approaching the two journalists and opening fire and again he's saying that the scene itself was how they first got on to flanagan as the suspect which could indicate that photo that adam ward took in the dying moments of the suspect is what perhaps provided the critical first lead for them to get on to the suspect. >> jonathan, let's ask you to stand by. halle jackson is on the scene there where the update was given. i think you asked about whether or not there's a racial component to this. and the sheriff responded no comment. what more have you been able to dig up while you've bonn the scene? it is a short time i know. >> reporter: he wouldn't speak to that aspect, thomas, but perhaps the shooter's life
spiraled out of control. you heard him say this. this is incredibly emotional for people in the roanoke area. i was struck by the sheriff who said he had been watching this broadcast live when it happened like so many in this community, people turn to the local news in the morning. he was stopped in the tracks and he said he had just done a live shot with these two journalists with alison and adam, this team, a few weeks ago. he knew them both personally. he said it was very emotional for him. we are obviously still here and not sure to get another on-camera update in the next few hours and working to grab information on how this unfolds. and what the motive may have been here. for vester flanagan. thomas? >> we'll let you get back to work there on the scene. thank you so much. want to go to justice correspondent pete williams. pete, you were able to confirm for us about the fact that flanagan is deceased. what new information do you have for us? >> well, on the motive, abc news
is the organization that the authorities were referring to in the news conference as the recipient of a fax from bryce williams, from victor lee williams and what abc says is a man claiming to be bryce williams started to call abc news over the last couple of weeks saying he wanted to talk about a story. wanted to fax some information.ó and then they say at 8:26 this morning, they received a fax from him identifying himself as victor lee flanagan. he said the authorities were after him and all over the place. they say this document is 23 pages long and he says his anger has been building steadily. he describes himself as a human powder keg waithing to go boom and suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work, calls this a suicide note for friends and family. expresses admiration for the
shooters at columbine high school in colorado and also cho, the man who killed 23 people at virginia tech in 2007. and then he says what sent me over the top, according to abc, what sent me over the top was the church shooting in charleston in june. he says, you want a race war? bring it on. and he also says according to abc in this manifesto or this 23-page whatever it is jehovah spoke to him telling him to act, thomas. >> pete, thank you very much. pete williams breaking down some of the new information coming in. didn't go into specifics during the press conference, the briefing there from the franklin county sheriff's office but again some insight definitely provided by this faxed manifesto from flanagan that went to abc. and referencing a lot of different things, some of which we are not going to bring to air at this time but talking about
as pete was pointing out what happened in charleston, with the mother emanuel nine happening in june and also talking about what happened in virginia tech. specifically talking about sung wi cho and i believe if i'm correct, correct me i'm wrong, colin godard is with us. you had a statement out earlier today about how your haesht goes out to the friends and family of adam, alison and vicki and gives us a true insight into the growesqueness of the violence that happens with guns and illustrated by the fact not only of a live shot on tv but that flanagan used his own first person perspective with an iphone or a gopro to record this assault. >> yeah. so much of the rhetoric and the talk around gun violence is people lost to gun violence and
as the few seconds of this video shows, people aren't lost to gun violence. people don't just disappear. when a gun is in someone's hand, people are violently killed. the few seconds you got to hear the gunshot, the screams, you got to feel like the intense horror that is felt by someone who has that -- who has their normal every day life experience just completely turned upside down in a second. and so, it's disturbing to watch for people who have expeerpsed it directly or people just fed up with of just seeing this play out in america and elected officials do nothing about it but it's important that people see it once and then demand their elected officials do something about it. >> yeah. we know that governor terry mcauliffe of virginia talked about how they're reflecting on this with a heavy heart and appropriate to begin to ask questions how to prevent senseless events like this in the future and just to characterize from this manifesto, colin, again, referring to what was sent to
abc, flanagan talks about putting a deposit down on a gun within 48 hours of the mother emanuel nine shooting and goes on in a certain way to praise the person who shot you at virginia tech. >> that's disturbing. i had not heard that before this and clearly we need to know more information about what happened but the idea of, say, doing a background check before somebody buys a gun was a good idea yesterday. that same idea before buying a gun is going to be a good idea again tomorrow. no matter what happens. and, you know, unfortunately, in virginia we can't get the background check bills out of a committee. not a single vote in the house. the people of the common wemt of virginia need to know the hold-up. why we don't have the laws we want and support and largely
because of the disconnect. the people need to demand the legislator do something they don't have to watch it happen to somebody else or perhaps their own family and steps to take we haven't and takes us all pointing voices at the elected officials to get it to become less likely to happen next week. >> you talk about an action in the house and we have this -- i want to go to this, colin. stand by for me. virginia state troopers of how they tracked down flanagan. >> west side, the 17 mile marker. >> okay. we are going to go back to him in a second. he was taking a phone call. that's virginia state troopers that were going to give us an update on how they were able to properly locate flanagan again after he was apprehended on i-66 according to the franklin county sheriff's department. he was -- he died after a self-inflicted gunshot wound. there was conflicting reports
early on and they were able to confirm the fact he died by 1:30 p.m. joining me now on the telephone is scott nichols and he used to work with alison parker. and i have to say, so many people have come out to praise alison parker as a passionate, young journalist. we're going to -- i'm going to go back to you in a second. we have the trooper back at the microphone. >> virginia state police and the public information officer for the cull pupper headquarters. you're presently on webb side of the i-66 at the 17.5 mile marker. the scene is at the 17.1 mile marker on the eastbound side. you are approximately over the hill there. you won't see it from this location. all right. after the initial shooting occurred in roanoke, well, having -- initial shooting in franklin county, law enforcement
agencies throughout the state were given information to be on the lookout for the suspect involved in the shooting and possible vehicles involved. we had agents, we had troopers and other law enforcement agencies all along the i-81, 64 and 66 corridor being on the lookout for this vehicle. at approximately 11:20 a.m., trooper p.m. neff out of the winchester office was stationed at i-66 and i-81 interchange. she was monitoring traffic with an lpr unit equipped in her vehicle, which is a tag reader. at approximately that time, she registered a hit on a possible suspect vehicle passing her location. she then -- and continued on eastbound on i-66. she then pulled out, searched for the vehicle and located visually at 11:24 a.m. at the 8-mile marker. after getting visual
confirmation of the vehicle, she radioed in and awaited backup to help her with the traffic stop on the suspect vehicle. after other units arrived, traffic stop was initiated at the 15.6 mile marker. at that time, the only okay pant of the vehicle did not slow. it did not stop for police vehicles. it then continued on and at subsequently ran off the left side of the roadway at the 17.1 mile marker, struck an embankment. officers then approached the vehicle and found that the lone occupant suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound. the suspect was later flown to anova hospital with life threateninging injuries and pronounced dead at 1:26 p.m. this date. suspect is identified as vester lee flanagan, age 41, from
roanoke. he's believed to be the prime suspect in the shooting in that area. down in franklin. agencies assisted the virginia state police, it's currently under investigation by the virginia state police and bureau of criminal investigations. the sheriff's department, atf, the u.s. marshal service, virginia v-dot, and also, fire and rescue units from faulkier and warren county, correct? warren county. from lyndon, marshal, upperville and orleans. fire and rescue companies. also, all the other law enforcement agencies along i-81 assisted in our lookout for this vehicle.
that's the end of my statement on that. >> did you find any weapons in that car? >> i cannot go into any details. i haven't been given any further information at this time. continuing an ongoing investigation. >> they talked at the news conference down south about being able to track that vehicle some way. up i-80. do you know anything about that? >> we were getting different reports, also getting repoupdat and vehicles possibly involved. >> was it a rental vehicle in. >> you have to talk to them about those details of how we were given that information. >> where did he shoot himself? >> i can't do into the details because i don't know. >> the trooper's name again. >> trooper p.m. neff paul as in paul. m as in mary. neff, n-e-f-f. she is clear from the scene. she has to get some fuel and
everything and she is going to bring herself and her vehicle up here and show you the equipment if you're interested that. >> could you talk to us about the kind of work that your people did? that she did and the rest of your people. >> i said once we mobilized and we got information on where the suspect vehicle was possibly traveling, we had troopers all along the interstate systems monitoring not only us but all of the other law enforcement agencies in the area were monitoring looking for these vehicles and possibly look, suspect. >> i heard some of the radio traffic. just sounded like an incredibly professional job and one point talked about guy having something in the right hand. sounded like -- >> whe were getting all kind of information. we had troopers that, we came up on situations at one point and coming up on a work zone. and that was all taken into consideration. where the traffic stop to be initiated. he knew that we were in the area and following him.
we preplanned everything so nobody would be hurt. >> he wouldn't stop, would he? >> he would not no. >> that's when he went in the ditch? >> yes. >> after he went into the ditch, that's when -- >> i don't know the sequence of events. all i know is the that we were behind the vehicle, attempting to stop it when it went into the median and subsequently approaching found out he had a self-inflicted gunshot wound. [ inaudible ] >> wasn't much of a chase. >> two miles? >> mile and a half. >> do you have the make and model of that car? >> i don't know. >> was he driving erratically? >> i don't know. all i know is we were setting up to do a traffic sfop on him. >> dash cameras? >> yes. they're not releasable. >> -- the information of law enforcement -- headed to d.c. metro area. can you -- >> i can't go into the details. that was information from franklin county. >> sergeant, do you know where she was shot? >> i do not.
>> is there any in evidence that vehicle of where he was going? >> i have no idea. still being processed. it's still an ongoing investigation. we won't go into the details at this time. >> can you tell us anything else that was found in the vehicle? >> i don't know. >> you don't know -- >> there again, the sequence is all i have is the sequence i have given you. the details are part of the investigation. >> how much damage was there to the vehicle? >> it looked to be minimal to me. all right. all right. that's it. if you all want to stand by, i have trooper neff coming up and corin geller is probably sending out copies of what they released in franklin county reference their press conference that happened at 2:00. thank you. >> we're listening to the virginia state police and an idea of how they were able to track flanagan using a plate reader. anthony romans joins me here on set to talk about that. talk about the technology, how
they were able to track down flanagan. >> that's hooked into a central bank computer and simply what it does is it dips into the department of motorvehicle vehicles database and it listed the registrant of the vehicle as it's known and the status of the vehicle. it is a compliant with the law. is it stolen? is it reported missing? it is active registration. it is very, very useful as a police tool. and it happens as it passes a police car, that happens automatically. displays right for the trooper screen. >> that fast? >> that fast. >> the news director at cwti-tv and worked with alison parker in north carolina. scott, what do you remember most about working with this young, upcoming journalist? >> i remember her energy. she was always happy, always energetic. she was just one of those people
who everybody enjoyed working with. one of my colleagues characterized her as a bright light. that's what she was. she never had a bad day. always happy. always hard working. cheerful, funny. this is -- this is a tremendous loss. >> do you know, scott, did you talk about career aspirations where she wanted to go and do next? >> yeah. we stayed in touch after she left here. i know she wanted to try and move up through the ranks to do more anchoring so she was happy being a morning live shot reporter but she wanted to do more anchor. >> we understand how it's moving up and close to family and home and begin now as we know how the revelation she was dating someone at the station, a fellow tv personality, and that they were in love. we're seeing that image now of her and chris hearst and had to
mean a lot that she was close to home. she was a girl that had done well in her home state. >> yeah. it was -- she was torn. when she gave me her resignation. she loved it in north carolina and jacksonville and this is an opportunity to be a reporter in her hometown and her next aspiration here and we were so proud of her when she moved up to the ranks, a bigger television market, a bigger job and so excited about it. but she stayed close to her roots or her friends here in north carolina and she'd always check in with me and see how things were going at the station and wanted the know what was going on down in jacksonville. we really missed her here. >> you must be torn with how to carry on with coverage and celebrate this light that you refer to for alison parker extinguished so young and also the seriousness, the grotesque of what we're all learning details of what flanagan carried
out. >> yes. that's been quite the discussion today during all of our editorial meetings and discussions. there have been a lot of tears at the tv station today. when we put our newscast together, the evening newscast, we're taking the feed. we know the national -- national affiliates are going to be putting together the stories of what happened up in virginia and focusing on alison, the people who knew her, loved her here, her friendships that she created and still fostered. everybody that worked with her and try to make sure the viewers remember her and the person she was and celebrate her life. >> scott, thank you very much for taking time to talk to us about someone that you were a mentor to as a young person coming up and taken far too young at 24 years old. i'll go to my colleague francis real quickly. i understand you have a statement of parker's father. >> that's right. saying just very basic here. barbara, drew and i are numb, devastated and i find my grief
unbearable. alison was a bright, shining light and it was cruelly extinguish wished by yet another crazy person with a gun. she excelled at everything she did and loved by everyone she touched. we talk to every single day. not hearing her voice again crucials my soul. and that again the heartwarming words continues on from the words of the father. >> we can't imagine the loss that they're all feeling today. francis, thank you very much. that wraps up our coverage for this afternoon. our colleague ari melber picks up things next at the top of the hour. stay tuned. we live in a world of mobile technology, but it is not the device that is mobile, it is you. real madrid have about 450 million fans. we're trying to give them all the feeling of being at the stadium. the microsoft cloud gives us the scalability to communicate exactly the content that people want to see. it will help people connect to their passion of living real madrid.
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breaking news leading the hour just moments ago we learned the man suspected of killing a tv news crew live on the air this morning is dead, killed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after being pursued by police. >> the driver of the sonic vester flanagan also known as bryce williams refused to stop and sped away from the trooper.