MONETA, Va. (AP) – ABC News says that someone using the name of the suspected gunman in the on-air shooting of two TV journalists sent the network a lengthy fax invoking several mass shootings.
ABC News reports that a man using the name Bryce Williams called the network in the past few weeks asking to pitch a story and wanting to fax information. The organization says the man never said what the story was.
Then, ABC News says, a fax arrived with a time stamp of 8:26 a.m. Wednesday, nearly two hours after the shooting in Virginia. He called the network just after 10 a.m., introducing himself as Bryce but saying that his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan and that he had shot two people.
Police and WDBJ-TV have identified the shooting suspect as Vester Flanagan, who used the name Bryce Williams on air when he worked for the station as a reporter. Authorities say he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound hours after the shooting.
ABC said in a story on its website that network officials immediately contacted authorities and provided them with the fax.
The 23-page document is a manifesto of sorts, saying he was motivated to kill his former co-workers after the recent Charleston church shootings. The document says Williams bought a gun June 19, two days after authorities say Dylann Roof killed nine people inside a black church. Police have called the massacre a racially motivated hate crime. The document also cites the Virginia Tech and Columbine High School killers as influences.
The TV station in Virginia has said that Flanagan alleged that other employees made racially-tinged comments to him and that he filed a complaint. But the station’s general manager says the allegations couldn’t be corroborated.