Warrants: Journalists’ shooter sought mental health treatment same year he was fired

Vester Lee Flanagan II
This undated photo provided by WDBJ-TV, shows Vester Lee Flanagan II, who killed WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward in Moneta, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Flanagan was a former employee at WDBJ who appeared on air as Bryce Williams. (WDBJ-TV via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

ROANOKE, Va. (WSLS) – Search warrants show Vester Lee Flanagan II sought treatment at a mental health facility in 2013, the same year he was fired from the Roanoke TV station of which he shot and killed two crew members during a live broadcast.

Search warrants from the Roanoke City Clerk’s Office show Flanagan went for treatment at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare in 2013. The warrants do not specify if he sought the treatment before or after being fired.

The warrants are also unclear as to what he may have sought treatment for.

Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, who went by the name Bryce Williams on air, was hired at the Roanoke station in April 2012 as a multimedia journalist and general assignment reporter.

The Roanoke Police Department said officers responded to a disorder call,  involving Flanagan, at the station February 1, 2013 at 9:07 a.m. When an officer arrived, a station supervisor told the officer that a recently-terminated employee, Flanagan, was refusing to leave and was becoming disorderly.

According to Roanoke police, the officer spoke with Flanagan, who was seated in a chair and attempting to place calls on a company phone. The officer advised Flanagan that he needed to leave the property.

Police say Flanagan began to leave the building, and as he was exiting, yelled “Ya’ll are white trash mother [expletive]!” He threw a ball cap and said “And you can keep this piece of [expletive].”

Flanagan asked that he be provided a letter of termination. Roanoke police said the officer walked with Flanagan to the parking lot, where Flanagan waited in his personal car until he was provided paperwork associated with his termination.

Flanagan then left the property with no other issues, police say.

Flanagan was suspected in the killing of two station employees – reporter Alison Parker, 24, and photojournalist Adam Ward, 27.  The two were shot at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, August 26, 2015 during an interview on live TV near Smith Mountain Lake in Moneta, southeast of Roanoke.

Flanagan fled the scene, but was spotted a few hours later traveling on Interstate 66, in Fauquier County. Flanagan suffered what police said was a self-inflicted gunshot wound and later died at the hospital.

Comments are closed.