Alison Parker and Adam Ward were tragically shot and killed while filming a live interview for Virginia’s WDBJ7 on Aug. 26. Their alleged shooter, Vester Flanagan, who used to work at the station, shot himself after the attack. Here’s everything you need to know about the suspect.
Police suspect that Vester Flanagan, who professionally goes by Bryce Williams, is the man who shot reporter Alison Parker, 24, and her cameraman, Adam Ward, 27, in Virginia on Aug. 26. As the story develops, here’s what you need to know about Vester’s history and his relationship to the victims.
Alison was conducting a live interview with Vicki Gardner, the Executive Director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce, when a man opened fire, killing her and Adam, and leaving Vicki injured. A few hours later, police confirmed they were searching for Vester, who previously worked with the victims at WDBJ7, in hopes of questioning him.
As all of this unraveled, a Twitter account that allegedly belonged to Vester, under the name of @bryce_williams7, began tweeting messages about Adam and Alison. A video was later uploaded to the account of the shooting from a different angle, clearly showing a gun in the frame being pointed at the reporter. A second video, which is absolutely horrifying and chilling, shows the hand pulling the trigger, and Alison being tragically shot. The account has since been suspended, and police named Vester as a suspect. He eventually shot himself and is in critical condition.
Vester has a long history in journalism, according to his LinkedIn page, also under the name of Bryce Williams. He graduated with a Broadcast Journalism degree from San Francisco State University, and had his first lick of newsroom experience as an intern at KPIX from Feb. 1993-June 1993. He was promoted to a Production Assistant/Weekend NewsWriter at the same station, and held the position until Feb. 1995.
From there, Vester moved on to KMID-TV, where he was a General Assignments Reporter from Feb. 1995-June 1995. There is a gap in his career history after that, until Feb. 1997, when he became a General Assignments Reporter at WTOC-TV for two years. After finishing up there, Vester began working as a Reporter/Anchor/Producer at WTWC-TV from March 1999-March 2000.
Following seven years in journalism, Vester took a break and became a Customer Service Representative for almost three years. In Aug. 2002, he returned to his roots as a Reporter/Anchor/Producer at WNCT-TV. After that, he was named Communications Director at NDG Interactive, where he worked for more than seven years until March 2012, when he started his career at WDBJ as a journalist. Vester worked at the Virginia-based station for one year, and was fired.
In his alleged tweets on the day of the shooting, Vester accused Alison of racism, and that’s not the first time he’s made such accusations. In 2000, he sued his former bosses at Florida’s WTWC-TV, claiming he was verbally abused by them because of his race. He alleged that he filed a complaint with the company, and was fired because of it, with WTWC-TV completely denying that the firing had anything to do with race. The case was settled out of court.
Click through the gallery above to see photos of the alleged shooter. Our thoughts remain with Alison and Adam’s families and loved ones during this difficult time.
— Alyssa Norwin