The man who fatally shot two news station employees on live television near Roanoke, Va. on Wednesday said that what put him over the top was the June shooting of a black church in Charleston, S.C., according a 23-page manifesto he sent to ABC News on Tuesday.
Vester Lee Flanagan II also claimed he was the victim of discrimination because he was gay and black.
The 41-year-old career TV newsman shot WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward while they were conducting a live interview. Flanagan, who posted video of the attack on his social media accounts, had been fired from the station in 2013. He had worked under the name Bryce Williams there and other news stations as an anchor.
“Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…” Flanagan wrote in the manifesto he sent to ABC News. The organization forwarded the document to the FBI.
He referenced the shooting in that attack, which left nine black churchgoers dead.
“As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” he wrote, according to ABC.
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them,” he wrote.
Flanagan, who died after shooting himself shortly after Wednesday’s attack, also cited infamous mass shooters as inspiration for his own attack.
“Also, I was influenced by Seung – Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin’.”
Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people in the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. Harris and Klebold killed 13 in the Columbine High School shooting in 1999.
Flanagan wrote in the rambling manifesto that his anger at being discriminated against because of his race and sexual orientation had been building over the years.
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….” he wrote.
He said that white women and black men had harassed him over the years.
“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily…I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”
After Wednesday’s shooting, Flanagan posted several messages on Twitter referencing Parker. He said that she had made racist comments to him in the past. But Flanagan’s former co-workers at WDBJ said Wednesday that he was difficult to work with and was always looking for something to be offended about.
One of his bosses said that when Flanagan was fired in 2013, the police had to be called to escort him out of the building.
Flanagan had bounced around from news station to news station throughout the South. In 2000 he filed a lawsuit against a station in Tallahassee claiming that a producer there had called him a “monkey.”