Reporter, photographer shooting a sad reminder of workplace viol - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reporter, photographer shooting a sad reminder of workplace violence

(Source: WDBJ/Twitter) (Source: WDBJ/Twitter)
(WMC) -

For those of us at WMC Action News 5, this act of workplace violence certainly hits home.

Reporter Alison Parker and photographer Adam Ward of WDBJ-TV in Virginia were in the middle of a routine morning interview when an ex-coworker took aim, killing both and wounding the woman they were interviewing on live TV.

Adam Ward’s final act of photojournalism was a shot from his fallen camera, capturing the armed suspect who ambushed him.

Vester Flanagan, 41, who also went by the name Bryce Williams, committed the killings via social media. He posted a point-of-view video on Facebook and sent a 20-plus page manifesto to a news network.

Police said Flanagan died after shooting himself following a chase.

Memphis Police Director Toney Armstrong released a statement regarding the deaths. It reads:

"I am both saddened and sickened by the horrific and senseless homicides that occurred this morning in Roanoke, VA. My deepest sympathy goes out to the WDBJ family, media outlets all over the world and especially our local media.  Please know that the Memphis Police Department is committed to meeting with our local station managers to provide an assessment to help implement, enhance or improve your station's security measures."

Flanagan used to work for a Raycom Media station in Georgia.

“At one point, he did work for our company at WTOC in Savannah," said WMC Action News 5 General Manager Tracey Rogers. "Obviously, we're super focused on it, because it happened to a television crew. It's what we do for a living."

Rogers considers Flanagan’s last act a reminder for everyone and another sad example of workplace-related violence.

Flanagan had been hired and fired from a number of television stations and blamed others for his misfortune.

His manifesto reportedly praised other mass shooters and included a hit list of other potential targets.

WMC Action News 5’s Kontji Anthony worked with Flanagan at WNCT-TV in Greenville, North Carolina.

"I'm absolutely baffled," Anthony said. “My stomach literally turned."

She said her phone blew up once the killer was identified as Vester Flanagan.

"While he did have tensions with other people in the newsroom, I never thought it would come to this magnitude,” Anthony said. "I mean, for him to videotape what happened and post it to social media? I can't understand this. My brain cannot wrap itself around what happened."

Allen Battle, a University of Tennessee Health Science Center Psychologist, believes Flanagan's paranoia reached a boiling point.

"It is marked by delusions of persecution and granduer, and, as a matter of fact, they're both quite close. Unless I'm rather remarkable, they wouldn't be persecuting me in the first place," Battle said.

Experts said workplace violence reaching this level is extremely rare. More common are things like bullying, intimidation and threats.

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