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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.

Georgia sheriff: I don't care if you're from Wisconsin or need beer, stay home

Published: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 1:13 AM

Safety Tips for Driving on Icy Roads

The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office was back at it again with the jokes (and insults) as Georgia woke up to a messy wintry mix Wednesday, prompting schools, businesses and nearly three-fourths of the state’s roadways to close.

>> Is it safe to eat snow? Here's why you really shouldn't

Stay home. Just STAY HOME

Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
 

State government offices are remaining closed for non-essential personnel Thursday across the 83 counties affected by winter weather, Gov. Nathan Deal said.

>> Tips, warning signs for frostbite, hypothermia

Although the weather’s no joke, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office brought some humor to its Facebook page on what many found to be a frustrating snow day.

>> 5 things you won’t want to leave in a freezing car

“I know you need cigarettes, beer and wine to get you through having your kids at home. Can you just do without for a day? Stay home,” one post read.

In another post, the office noted the multiple morning crashes due to the inclement weather. “Body shops and wrecker companies just love y’all.”

More from the Sheriff’s Office:

There is an incoming ballistic missile...er, wait. That was the wrong button. Ok. Got it now. Oconee County Government is closed today due to weather.

Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

If a Deputy is directing you to not travel down a roadway, he or she probably has a good reason for doing so. The fact that you are from Wisconsin and “this ain’t sh..” is really not pertinent.

Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I know what y'all are doing. You looked out the window and saw your driveway and the 87 feet of road you can see looks...

Posted by Oconee County Georgia Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

>> On AJC.com: How to prepare your family, home and car for hazardous weather

While most readers lauded the sheriff’s office for its jokes, some found the announcements to be disrespectful.

“Government entity at its finest. Oconee, be respectful! We all feel what you are saying, however, some of the things you are saying are offense considering you are a government office and serving the public (those stupid beer and cigarette runners). Thank you!” commenter Wendi Turpen Hood wrote.

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Another commenter, Nikki Giamarino, noted some serious implications of bad weather.

“My employer called off work. But what about people who’s employer didn’t? What about single parents who cannot afford to lose their jobs due to absence? I wish the world was a kinder place,” she wrote.

>> On AJC.com: Atlanta snow 2018: Twitter erupts in memes, jokes and snowy scenes

This isn’t the first time the Oconee Sheriff’s Office has garnered attention for its humor.

Following Georgia’s win against Auburn last month, the office wrote, “Show proof you graduated from Auburn and we will discount your speeding tickets by 5 miles per hour,” the post said. “Y'all have had enough of a beating today.”

In August, before the total solar eclipse, Oconee Sheriff Scott Berry warned residents to prepare for the end of the world. “It’s very likely this is the end of life on this planet as we know it,” he wrote.

Wells Fargo customers find accounts drained by mistaken double charges

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:49 PM

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)(Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Some Wells Fargo customers found their bank accounts drained to zero Wednesday when some sort of glitch caused their online bill payments to be processed twice.

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Numerous customers -- so many that Wells Fargo’s customer service phone lines were jammed Wednesday night -- were discovering that recent payments they had made using the bank’s online Bill Pay system had been deducted twice from their checking accounts.

In some cases, that sent customers’ balances to zero -- or below zero -- and triggered the possibility of overdraft protection fees. Some customers received email notices telling them that they now had no money in their checking accounts.

Customers who sat through the hour-plus wait to reach a customer service representative Wednesday night were being told that their accounts would be fixed overnight.

“We’re aware that certain Wells Fargo customers are experiencing issues with Bill Pay,” Wells Fargo communications manager Hilary O’Byrne said in a statement. “We apologize for this inconvenience, and are working to resolve the issue quickly.”

O’Byrne declined to say how many customers were affected or to describe how the double charges occurred.

In the meantime, customers took to social media to share their shock and frustration over not being able to access the money that should have been in their checking accounts.

Suspect sought after stealing SUV, abandoning children on freezing roads

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:21 PM

(WSBTV.com)
(WSBTV.com)

Authorities in Clayton County, Georgia, are searching for the person they say stole an SUV with two children inside from a gas station Wednesday before abandoning them in below-freezing temperatures on major roadways.

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One-month-old Ava Wilmer and 4-year-old Arya Davenport were found miles apart after mother Precious Wilmer’s 2009 Chevy Equinox was stolen about 5 p.m. from a QuikTrip on Riverdale Road, Clayton County police Sgt. Ashanti Marbury said. 

Precious Wilmer left the girls in the car with the engine running near a gas pump while she went inside the convenience store, Marbury said. 

She came out of the store and saw her car being driven away with her children in the back seat. 

Shortly into the search, Georgia State University police Chief Josephy Spillane found Arya walking down the shoulder of a roadway near I-285 and Riverdale Road, Clayton County polcie said. 

After roughly two hours, baby Ava was found in the middle of South Fulton Parkway still strapped in her car seat. 

Marbury said WSB-TV photojournalist Brian Ferguson led police to her after he saw an objecting sitting in the road on his way to cover the scene. 

The girls appeared to be OK, but were taken to Southern Regional Medical Center as a precaution. Metro Atlanta temperatures were in the 20s, but with winds reaching 20 mph, it felt like they were in the single digits, WSB-TV reported

Atlanta police later located Precious Wilmer’s stolen SUV on Metropolitan Parkway. 

No description of the suspect has been released. 

Steve Bannon strikes deal in Mueller probe: reports

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 10:14 AM

Steve Bannon Makes Deal With Robert Mueller

Steve Bannon has struck a deal to be interviewed by a special prosecutor in the Robert Mueller investigation, according to reports.

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Check back for the latest updates in this developing story.