Tuesday 25 October 2016

‘I’ve been a human powder keg, just waiting to go boom’ - TV murderer’s chilling last words

Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview in Virginia (WDBJ-TV/AP)
Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were fatally shot during an on-air interview in Virginia (WDBJ-TV/AP)
Community supporters light candles in the shape of a heart during a vigil for journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward who were killed during a shooting in Moneta, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Vester Lee Flanagan opened fire during a live on-air interview for WDBJ7, killing the two journalists Wednesday. (Autumn Parry/The News & Advance via AP)

THE man who shot dead a TV reporter and cameraman during a live news broadcast in the US told authorities afterwards he was a “human powder keg...just waiting to go boom!”

In a rambling letter sent to ABC News after former colleagues reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were gunned down at a shopping centre in Moneta, central Virginia, Vester Lee Flanagan cited a long list of grievances, dating back to the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech and the more recent massacre of worshippers at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

“I’ve been a human powder keg for a while,” 41-year-old Flanagan wrote in the note, “just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”

The man described as a “loner” by former colleagues was later found with a gunshot wound after his car crashed following a police chase. He died in hospital.

US President Barack Obama said the shooting was heartbreaking.

He said “it breaks my heart every time” he reads or hears about these kinds of incidents.

“What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents around this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism,” he added.

Police said Flanagan had bought the gun legally.

A third person, Vicki Gardner of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, who was being interviewed by Ms Parker, was injured in the shooting.

Ms Parker’s father said the shootings had left the family “numb”.

Andy Parker said his daughter “excelled at everything she did”.

After yesterday’s shootings, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office said that video recorded by the station’s camera shows Flanagan holding a weapon.

Video shows Ms Parker carrying out an interview about tourism at Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County.

She smiles before at least eight shots are heard.

The camera appears to drop to the ground and the reporter can be heard screaming.

The station then switches back to a shot of a presenter back at the station, who has a shocked expression on her face.


The gunman later posted a video he filmed of the shootings.

The chilling footage shows a gun in his hand, pointing at Ms Parker and her attempting to flee when he opens fire.

The Twitter account used to post the video also included the comments “I filmed the shooting see Facebook”, “Adam went to (human resources) on me after working with me one time!!!” and “Alison made racist comments. EEOC report filed. They hired her after that???”

Mr Ward was 27 and a graduate of Virginia Tech, while Ms Parker had just turned 24 and attended James Madison University.

Mr Ward was engaged to a producer at the station, Melissa Ott, who was celebrating her last day on the job and was in the control room, watching it live, as the shooting unfolded.

Ms Parker’s boyfriend was WDBJ anchor Chris Hurst.

He said they had just moved in together and wanted to get married. “I am numb,” he said.

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