Virginia Gunman had ties to Tallahassee

| August 27, 2015

Tallahassee

TALLAHASSEE — The man suspected in a shooting that killed two and injured another during a live television report in Virginia has ties to Tallahassee.

A former WTWC employee confirmed to WCTV in a published report that Vester Flanagan worked at WTWC in Tallahassee from March of 1999 to March of 2000 as reporter and weekend anchor.

The station also confirmed in the report that Flanagan had filed a complaint regarding racial discrimination against the station but the case was settled. A copy of the full complaint is attached, titled “Flanagan Complaint.”  This matches comments made by the Virginia television station General Manager regarding Flanagan’s conduct and history of filing complaints and lawsuits against his employers.

Flanagan went by the name Bryce Williams on air.

Mike Walker of Tallahassee worked as Flanagan’s weekend producer while he was in Tallahassee. He says, in the WCTV report, that Flanagan was professional but did have his flaws.

“There was some yelling incidents. There were times when he probably misread something and became frustrated with himself,” Walker said.

Meteorologist Nancy Dignon also worked with Vester Flanagan at NBC News 40 in Tallahassee in the late 90’s.

Dignon says in the WCTV report that Flanagan anchored the 6 and 11pm newscasts with her on the weekends.

“We are all in disbelief – and quite shaken by this,” Dignon said. “We knew he was volatile, but we never thought in our wildest dreams that he was capable of something like this.”

Dignon recalled an incident after the late news one night in which she pointed out a mistake Flanagan had made on the air. She said the disagreement “escalated so unexpectedly and so quickly … that he asked me to take it outside.”

His photographer at WTWC was also in shock, “Vester was a happy go lucky guy, loved to joke… a regular type guy. It kind of shocks me that they’re looking for him as a cold blooded murderer,” Jeff Walker, Flanagan’s former photographer said in the report.

In 2000 he filed a racial discrimination suit against the station, WTWC. Court papers say that Flanagan claimed he was retaliated against after he made complaints about the racial discrimination to his employer, according to the WCTV report.

Flanagan shot and killed reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward Wednesday morning while they were filming a live interview.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran says Vester Flanagan died at 1:26 p.m. Wednesday.

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