In alleged shooter’s memo, rage at coworkers and Charleston
Julie Zauzmer · 7:29 PM
Vester Lee Flanagan II shot and killed two former coworkers
because of workplace grievances and anger from the massacre at a
black church in Charleston, S.C., Flanagan wrote in a suicide
note he sent to ABC News shortly after the killings Wednesday
In the document, obtained independently by The Washington Post,
the writer makes reference to several previous mass shootings
that have captured national attention.
He seems to admire some previous shooters. But Flanagan, who
writes extensively about his experiences as a black man in the
memorandum, was enraged by the Charleston massacre at a black
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting,” he wrote.
“As for Dylann Roof? … You want a race war…? BRING IT THEN.”
Crime reporter: 'It's strange to find yourself on this side'
Justin Jouvenal · 7:22 PM
WDBJ crime reporter Nadine Maeser said the news team at the
station had a meeting at 2:30 p.m. to discuss how to cover the
story of the day: the shooting of their own reporters.
For a crime reporter, it was a surreal moment.
“I’ve been on the other side reporting on these type of
incidents,” Maeser said. “It’s strange to find yourself on this
Maeser said reporters soldiered on, because it’s what “Alison
and Adam would have wanted us to do.”
Maeser said she was good friends with Adam Ward and his fiancée,
producer Melissa Ott. She was supposed to be a bridesmaid in
“He was always the first one in the door and the last one to
leave,” Maeser said of the slain cameraman. “He was goofy and
full of life.”
News station grieves for co-workers who were like family
Justin Jouvenal · 7:21 PM
The call came at 7:11 a.m. WDBJ reporter Justin Ward (no
relation to Adam Ward) said he was awoken from sleep.
It was his boss at the station. “We’ve had an incident during a
live shot and we need everyone at the station,” he recalled him
Ward said he was receiving messages on Facebook, so he had an
inkling of what was going on as he made the 30-minute drive to
WDBJ in Roanoke. He called it the longest of his life.
When he arrived, he said, he found a scene of total grief.
Employees were hugging each other and crying.
“We are a family,” Ward said. “We call each other ‘cousins.’
That’s how close we are.”
Ward said he and many other employees learned Parker and Ward
were confirmed dead when the station’s general manager went on
the air and announced it.
He said a howl went up in the studio that he thought might have
been heard on air.
At some point, Melissa Ott, Adam Ward’s fiancée, was overcome
and had to be rushed to the hospital. She witnessed the shooting
as it unfolded live on the air and is a producer at the station.
Later that morning, he said, the news team gathered for a
meeting. They sang “Amazing Grace” and recited an “Our Father”
and the 23rd Psalm.
Ward said Alison Parker’s boyfriend, anchor Chris Hurst, then
got up and showed everyone a photo album she had put together.
Still, they were reporters and had a job to do. So they went
“We are not really covering this,” Ward said. “We are grieving
Ward said Parker was his intern and she always had a smile on
her face. “She would ask really thoughtful questions about the
business,” Ward said. “She was going to go places.”
WDBJ general manager: Newsroom is 'shell-shocked'
Paul Duggan · 6:51 PM
Jeff Marks, the general manager at WDBJ, said of the two station
employees killed Wednesday: “When this kind of thing happens,
you expect the employer to say this person hung the moon, the
best ever. And yet it’s not hyperbole to say that about these
two. They were eager; they wanted to learn; they wanted to
improve; they wanted to impress; they wanted to carry the torch
of the First Amendment and do it right.”
Marks has been working in broadcast news since 1971 and has been
a TV news manager for the past 35 years. Describing Wednesday,
he said: “It’s the worst day of my career. And it is for
He said that the WDBJ newsroom, which has about 50 employees, is “shell-shocked.”