How Virginia State Police captured suspected journalist killer Vester Flanagan

Posted at 6:57 PM, Aug 26, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-26 23:57:24-04

HARDY, Va. --Virginia State Police found suspected gunman Vester L. Flanagan II using a license plate reader.

An almost five-hour manhunt had ensued after authorities said Flanagan gunned down a Virginia reporter and cameraman for WDBJ on live television Wednesday, August 26.

The two young lives lost from Roanoke, Virginia worked for sister station WDBJ. They were 24-year-old Alison Parker and 27-year-old Adam Ward. Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vicki Gardner was wounded in the shooting and is in stable condition.

Flanagan, who previously reported at WDBJ -- known on-air as "Bryce Williams" -- fled from the scene and was found hours later on Interstate 66 in Faquier County.

At a press conference Sgt. Rick Garletts, with VSP, said that Trooper Pam Neff, was on patrol along I-66.

Her license plate reader, LPR, alerted to a license plate on a Chevrolet Sonic traveling east on 66.

She followed the vehicle a short distance as troopers responded to assist her before she activated her lights. Once that backup was there she activated her emergency equipment and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver of the Sonic, Vester Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, refused to stop and sped away from the trooper.

“It was only a minute or two later when the Sonic ran in, off the road into the median,” Garletts said.  “When Trooper Neff approached the vehicle she found Flanagan suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Flanagan was flown from the scene to Inova Fairfax Hospital where he died at approximately 1:30 pm today.

Flanagan had been fired from WDBJ two years ago.

ABC news reported they received a 23-page manifesto from a person named Bryce Williams, which they have given to investigators.

Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.'"

Sources familiar with the investigation tell ABC News that in his attack, Flanagan used a Glock 19 -- a firearm similar to one that Cho used in his mass attack.

In Flanagan's often rambling letter to authorities, family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Flanagan calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family."

  • He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
  • He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man
  • He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work

A source with direct knowledge of his complaints against the station said a pair of tweets sent today and attributed to him accurately reflect previous complaints he lodged against the two people he killed today. These are the two Tweets: “Alison made racist comments,” and, “Adam went to hr on me after working with me one time!!!”

Nowhere in the document does he make specific threats against anyone from WDBJ.

In his manifesto, he says he encountered "nasty racist things" while working at WDBJ-7 in Roanoke, and that drove him to sue the station. "I marched down to the courthouse and sued WDBJ7 by myself and they settled! HA!"



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