HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The man suspected of shooting and killing two television
journalists in Roanoke, Va. Wednesday morning shot himself about
five hours later during a police chase and was later pronounced
dead at a hospital.
Authorities said the suspected gunman, Vester L. Flanagan,
worked at WDBJ under the on-air name of Bryce Williams and was
described by several people as a disgruntled employee at the
Dan Dennison, senior communications director for the Hawaii
Department of Land and Natural Resources, was the news director
of the station from 2011 to 2013 and also hired and fired
Flanagan during his tenure. In a live interview on Hawaii News
Now Sunrise, he said Flanagan, who was hired in 2012, was
terminated in 2013, largely for performance issues.
“He had a level of a long series of complaints against coworkers
nearly from the beginning of employment at the TV station,”
Dennison said. “That really had nothing to do with his
termination, and after a lot of investigation both internally
and externally, all of these allegations were deemed to be
unfounded. And they were largely under along racial lines, and
we did a thorough investigation and could find no evidence that
anyone had racially discriminated against this man.”
Although Dennison said he couldn’t share complete details about
the incident, he added that Flanagan’s termination was one of
the toughest he’s ever been involved in, so much so that police
had to escort Flanagan out of the building because he wouldn’t
leave on his own free will.
The two victims -- reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photographer
Adam Ward, 27 – died after being shot at around 6:45 a.m. ET
while conducting a live interview near Roanoke.
"They were both really just great young people and it’s such a
tragic circumstance," Dennison said. "You just never know, when
you’re going to work, how a potentially unhinged or unsettled
person might impact your life in such a tragic way as we saw in
Roanoke this morning."