[Updated Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, at 11:26 a.m. PT with news that the suspect is dead.]
The suspect in a live on-air shooting that left two television news people dead has died after shooting himself. CNN reports that Vester Flanagan, who was the subject of a manhunt following the shooting this morning, shot himself after being confronted by law enforcement personnel.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Flanagan was in custody after being wounded when he shot himself. He apparently turned the gun on himself after officers spotted his car on Interstate 66 and tried to pull him over. News later broke that Flanagan had been declared dead from his gunshot wound.
WSJ reports: “Nearly five hours after the violence began, Virginia State Police spotted the suspect’s car on the highway leading to Washington, D.C., and attempted to pull him over, officials said. The suspect’s car tried to speed away but ran off the road, and when police reached him he had shot himself, officials said.”
Flanagan was described as a disgruntled former employee of the station, WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Va. Footage has surfaced showing Flanagan working as a reporter for the station, using the on-air name Bryce Williams.
Reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were killed in the attack this morning, as we reported previously.
CNN quotes WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks saying of Flanagan: “Two years ago, we had to separate him from the company. We did understand that he was still living in the area.”
CNN reported earlier that WDBJ was cooperating with police, including turning over information on Flanagan’s history with the station along with a video of the shooting.
Marks had reportedly heard in the past about Flanagan having a complaint against the station. But Marks noted: “I don’t think Alison and that individual even overlapped here.”
“Marks added that he was not exaggerating when he says that Parker and photographer Adam Ward were ‘the kindest and nicest people who worked here. … I can’t figure out any connection,'” CNN adds.
The WSJ report notes: “An individual using Mr. Flanagan’s on-air name, Bryce Williams, posted video on Twitter of the shooting from the gunman’s point of view, with the comment, ‘I filmed the shooting.’’’ The POV video has since been making the rounds on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites.
The report adds: “The video shows a gun being pointed at Ms. Parker and then shows a shot being fired at her. The same Twitter feed complains that the individual was mistreated at the station because of his race and criticizes the two dead employees. The Twitter account was suspended shortly after the postings.”