Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 29th 2015 Contents A37
Saturday, August 29, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The man who was news director
during Vester Flanagan s rocky tenure
at Virginia station WDBJ-TV described
him as someone who constantly saw
himself being victimised by others.
Dan Dennison described Flanagan,
who shot and killed a reporter and a
cameraman on live television Wednes-
day, as a "professional victim" during
his time at the station before being
fired in 2013.
"He was victimised by everything
and everyone and could never quite
grasp the fact that he was the common
denominator in all of these really some-
times serious interpersonal conflicts
that he had with people," Dennison
Flanagan, 41, interpreted efforts by
the station to improve his performance
and persuade him to work more coop-
eratively with colleagues as discrimi-
nation, said Dennison, who now works
as a communications manager at the
Hawaii state Department of Land and
On the day he was fired, Flanagan
pressed a wooden cross into Dennison s
hand and said, "You ll need this," as
two police officers escorted him out.
Flanagan s departure then was filmed
by Adam Ward, the cameraman who
was killed along with reporter Alison
Parker during an on-air interview
Dennison said the station had no
idea of his shortcomings before he was
hired there and he had received positive
Flanagan s hair-trigger temper
became evident at least 15 years ago at
WTWC-TV in Tallahassee, Florida, said
Don Shafer, who hired him there in
1999. Shafer recalled Flanagan as a
good reporter and a "clever, funny
guy"---but said he also had conflicts
with co-workers "to the point where
he was threatening people."
"Had some physical confrontations
with a couple of people, and at one
point became such a distraction that
we finally had to terminate him," said
Shafer, now news director with XETV
in San Diego.
After stints in California, Florida and
North Carolina, Flanagan s last televi-
sion job was at WDBJ in Roanoke.
Others who ran across Flanagan after
he lost his job at WDBJ described a
man increasingly irked by slights more
often imagined than real.
A former co-worker at a United-
Healthcare call centre where Flanagan
worked until late 2014 said he tried to
grab her shoulder and told her never
to speak to him again after she offhand-
edly said he was unusually quiet.
The manager of a bar in Roanoke
said Flanagan was so incensed when
no one thanked him for his business
as he left the tavern that he sent a
nearly 20-page letter, lambasting
Flanagan described himself in a court
document as an aggrieved and unap-
"How heartless can you be? My
entire life was disrupted after moving
clear across the country for a job only
to have my dream turn into a night-
mare," Flanagan wrote in a letter to a
judge filed as part of his 2013 lawsuit
against WDBJ-TV. "Your Honour, I am
not the monster here."
The lawsuit was dismissed in July
2014. But in recent weeks, Flanagan
laid careful plans for retribution. He
contacted ABC News about what he
claimed was a story tip and filled his
Facebook page with photos and video
montages seemingly designed to intro-
duce himself to a larger audience.
On Wednesday, after killing Parker,
24, and Ward, 27, he went online to
claim they had wronged him in the
He also texted a friend suggesting
he had "done something stupid," inves-
tigators wrote in a search warrant. He
turned the gun on himself when police
caught up to him a few hours later.
Inside his rental car, investigators found
extra license plates, a wig, shawl, sun-
glasses and a hat as well as some
stamped letters and a "to do" list.
On Thursday, the station s general
manager, Jeffrey Marks, recalled a series
of problems with Flanagan while he
worked at WDBJ from March 2012 to
February 2013. Flanagan accused a news
photographer of trespassing on private
property. He confronted an anchor over
a story and attempted to reach the
company s CEO to complain. He filed
a complaint with the Equal Employ-
ment Opportunity Commission, as well
as the lawsuit.
Flanagan s joking and smiling one
minute could turn to anger in the next,
former colleague Justin McLeod said.
Once, for no apparent reason, Flana-
gan told a photographer he knew the
man didn t like him because he was
gay. The photographer told Flanagan
he hadn t known about his sexual ori-
entation, McLeod said.
Former co-workers, surprised that
Flanagan had stayed in town after losing
his job, passed him from time to time.
They called them "Bryce sightings,"
referring to Flanagan s on-air name,
Bryce Williams, McLeod said. (AP)
in TV deaths
Dale and Edith
Bryant, of Botetourt
look over a
memorial for the
two slain journalists
in front of the
studios of WDBJ-
TV7 in Roanoke,
Alison Parker and
Ward from the
station were killed
during a live
Links Archive August 28th 2015 August 30th 2015 Navigation Previous Page Next Page