Vester Flanagan: What we know about the Virginia television gunman

Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 @ 12:45 PM
Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 @ 4:11 PM

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The man who allegedly shot and killed a television reporter and photographer while they were conducting a live interview for WDBJ reportedly sent a manifesto to ABC News.

The network said someone who identified themselves as Bryce Williams, which was the on-air name used by the shooting suspect, Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, when he worked at WDBJ, called their newsroom multiple times over the last few weeks and then again Wednesday morning claiming he had shot two people.

 ABC News reported on its website that the network received a 23-page fax from someone claiming to be Williams.

ABC News said in the document, Flanagan wrote that a deadly shooting at a Charleston church sparked the shootings.

"Why did I do it? I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15... What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims' initials on them," the document said.

Flanagan also refers to Dylann Roof, Virginia Tech mass killer Seung Hui Cho and Columbine shooters Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold.

A Twitter account believed to be created by Flanagan tweeted about an EEOC report and also included tweets that said "Alison made racist comments" and "Adam went to hr on me after working with me one time!!!"

Flanagan's Twitter and Facebook accounts were quickly suspended.

The Roanoke Times reported Flanagan worked at WDBJ starting in 2012 after stints in San Francisco, Texas, North Carolina, Tallahassee and Savannah, Georgia. He was dismissed by WDBJ in 2013 and filed a lawsuit in 2014 accusing the station of discrimination. The case was dismissed by a judge.

Virginia State police confirmed that the alleged gunman, Vester Lee Flanagan,  is dead after shooting himself. Police say Flanagan was approached by police on Interstate 66 but refused to stop and sped away. Flanagan crashed his vehicle and was found with a gunshot wound to the head.

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Flanagan was the subject of an intense manhunt after the shootings, which took place on live television Wednesday. The gunman recorded himself carrying out the killings and posted the video on Twitter and Facebook after he fled the scene.

>>Read more about the shootings

WDBJ reporter Alison Parker had been interviewing an economic development official about local tourism as the shots rang out. She screamed, ran and could be heard saying, "Oh my God," as she fell. Adam Ward's camera captured a fleeting image, including the face, of a man holding a handgun. Parker and Ward died at the scene; Vicki Gardner was shot and required emergency surgery. She is expected to live.

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Florida man armed with 20-inch knife tries to carjack sheriff citizen patrol car, deputies say

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 8:26 PM

A man armed with a 20-inch knife tried to carjack a Flagler County Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) vehicle while Cpl. Angela Camit was on patrol, authorities said. (Photo: Flagler County Sheriff's Office)
A man armed with a 20-inch knife tried to carjack a Flagler County Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) vehicle while Cpl. Angela Camit was on patrol, authorities said. (Photo: Flagler County Sheriff's Office)

A man armed with a 20-inch knife tried to carjack a Flagler County Sheriff’s Citizen Observer Patrol (C.O.P.) vehicle while Cpl. Angela Camit was on patrol, authorities said.

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Camit said that after the failed carjacking attempt on Eric Drive in Palm Coast, the man, later identified as Stephen Goldberg, fled. Camit followed him and that’s when Goldberg, 32, ran toward her with the knife.

Investigators said deputies arrived and took Goldberg into custody without incident.

“Had he approached a sheriff’s deputy in this manner, it is likely that we would have had a different outcome,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said.

Staly said Goldberg is a “career repeat offender.”

“Our C.O.P.s are invaluable volunteers who serve and help protect this community alongside our deputies. We will not tolerate anyone threatening harm to them or anyone else. I hope the courts keep him locked up and he is sent back to prison where he belongs before he hurts someone,” Staly said.

Camit is a seasoned C.O.P. with several years of experience, and in light of the incident, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office will reevaluate the equipment issued to C.O.P.s for their protection.

Goldberg was arrested and charged with attempted armed carjacking, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and armed trespassing.

Deputies said Goldberg will be booked into the Flagler County Detention Facility without bail.

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Attorneys say convicted killer's IQ too low to be executed

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 8:48 PM

Juan Rosario. (Photo:
Juan Rosario. (Photo:

Attorneys for an Orange County man who was convicted of first-degree murder and arson last year said their client's IQ might be too low for him to be executed.

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A jury in May 2017 convicted Juan Rosario of beating Elena Ortega, 83, and burning her alive in her home in 2013. Jurors unanimously decided that he should be sentenced to death.

Rosario's lawyers have spent almost a year trying to build up enough evidence to convince Circuit Judge Leticia Marques that he doesn't doesn't deserve to die. They'll make their case during a hearing scheduled for May.

"There's too much work that needs to be done, and we need to have additional experts appointed," attorney Ted Marrero said.

Marrero on Friday asked Marques for a six-month extension because he said he recently learned that Rosario has an IQ of 72.

"Tell them they need to soldier on and be ready," state attorney Brad King said. "And at the same time, tell them that we need our witness list by 5 o'clock today."

Prosecutors said one year was more than enough time for attorneys to figure out that Rosario might meet the legal definition of mental retardation.

"At some point, there has to be order," King said. "And the law has to apply to these cases, just like every other case."

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Man steals Jeep from dealership during test drive, police say

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 9:17 PM

File photo.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Authorities are looking for a man who stole a Jeep on Thursday from a dealership during a test drive, police said. 

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The suspect walked into Philly Auto dealership around 7 p.m. and expressed interest in a red Jeep Cherokee on the lot, according to WPVI

The man and a salesman went on a test drive. During the drive, the man started driving erratically and the salesman asked him to pull over, according to WPVI. The salesman started to switch seats with the man when the thief pulled out a gun and drove off, leaving the salesman on the side of the road. 

No shots were fired and there were no injuries. The man has not been seen since the incident.

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Controversial headstone company closes, says it plans to resolve orders

Published: Saturday, March 17, 2018 @ 7:56 PM

Paulding County resident Pam Dean paid over $3,000 to Wichman Monuments, but received no headstone for her late husband’s grave. (Photo:
Paulding County resident Pam Dean paid over $3,000 to Wichman Monuments, but received no headstone for her late husband’s grave. (Photo:

A grave marker company that was the focus of a police investigation and several consumer complaints, including one from a metro Atlanta woman, said it has permanently closed.

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The president of Wichman Monuments of Chattanooga said it plans to resolve as many unfilled orders as possible, according to the Times Free Press.

The 72-year-old business has hired a law firm to help it with the closure, and an attorney with the firm said plans are to contact each of Wichman’s customers.

A Paulding County woman, Pam Dean, said she paid more than $3,000 to Wichman Monuments for a headstone for her late husband’s grave. Though the check was cashed on Jan. 2, no monument was delivered.

“When I call the company, it goes to voicemail and a message that the voicemail is full,” Dean said.

Chattanooga police said they opened a fraud investigation into the company after receiving complaints.

The Better Business Bureau of Southeast Tennessee and Northwest Georgia said it received a number of complaints “in the low 30s” about the company.

The company’s law firm said the closure was due to rising costs and losing some key workers to illness over the past month, the newspaper reported.

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