A man claiming to be Bryce Williams called ABC News over the last few weeks, saying he wanted to pitch a story and wanted to fax information. He never told ABC News what the story was.
This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the phone, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.
In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II. He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:
“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…”
Sources say Flanagan's firearm was legally purchased from a Virginia gun store.
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them."
It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.
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
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!"
He continues: "I can remember one day in particular... leaving the courthouse... feeling overwhelmed... confused... even some fear. But by golly I knew I HAD to fight. ... They truly f----d with my life and caused an awful chain of events." He says he even killed his cats in a forest "because of them."
Flanagan says that, "Hell yeah, I made mistakes," noting that he "should not have been so curt" with photographers in Roanoke. "[B]ut you know why I was? The damn news director was a micromanaging tyrant!!"
And, he writes, "the photogs were out to get me at WDBJ7... one went to HR after only working with me one time... the chief photog told his troops to [record video of] me if they saw be doing something wrong."
Flanagan then suggests that, after leaving WDBJ-7, he was offered a job at a station in Pennsylvania, but WDBJ-7 persuaded the Pennsylvania station to rescind the offer.
"I got to the point, this time around, where I wasn't even looking for a job. I don't need to deal with workplace bullies anymore. THAT is what lawmakers need to focus on," he adds.
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry," he writes in his manifesto. "I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace....”
“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily...I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”
He chronicles the "tough times" he's faced, including some "financial crashes." He says he used to work as a male escort but, "I am proud of it" because he "made thousands."
"[I] tried to pull myself up by the bootstraps," but, "The damage was already done and when someone gets to this point, there is nothing that can be said or done to change their sadness to happiness. It does not work that way. Meds? Nah. It's too much."
"And then, after the unthinkable happened in Charleston, THAT WAS IT!!!"
"Yeah I'm all f----- up in the head," he concedes.