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Virginia TV Shooter Vester Flanagan Legally Purchased Gun From Dealer

Image: Virginia TV Shooter Vester Flanagan Legally Purchased Gun From Dealer
(WDBJ7)

By    |   Friday, 28 Aug 2015 11:39 AM

Vester Flanagan, the killer who shot two journalists during a live TV broadcast this week in Virginia, legally purchased the weapon he used from a licensed dealer.

Law enforcement officials told NBC News that Flanagan, an ex-reporter at WDBJ who was known on-the-air as Bryce Williams, purchased two Glock model 19 handguns from a Virginia dealer, but the news outlet did not identify which one.

"I have no indication that anything was done illegally or improperly, or any shortcuts were made," Tom Faison, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, told The Roanoke Times.

Faison told the newspaper that one of the guns was similar in make to one used by Seung-Hui Cho, the former Virginia Tech student who killed 32 students and professors on campus during a 2007 rampage before turning the gun on himself.

In a rambling manifesto Flanagan faxed to ABC News after the shooting, he referred to Cho as "my boy."

Faison told The Roanoke Times that Flanagan purchased more than one weapon in July. Authorities are not clear, though, on whether the weapon used to kill reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward was same one the suspect used to shoot himself.

Flanagan also seriously wounded Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce leader Vicki Gardner in the attack. She underwent surgery and was listed in good condition as of Friday.

Lori Haas, state director for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, told The Roanoke Times that she does not know of any reason Flanagan would have been prevented from purchasing a gun based on what is known about him.

NBC News reported that, despite Flanagan's reputation as an unstable co-worker, he did not rise to the federal mental health standard that would have prevented him from purchasing a weapon based on mental illness.

In his suicide note, Flanagan said the June church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, was one of the things that sparked his rampage, according to ABC News. In that rampage, Dylann Roof was charged with killing nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

"What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims' initials on them," Flanagan wrote in his manifesto, according to ABC News.

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Vester Flanagan, the killer who shot two journalists during a live TV broadcast this week in Virginia, legally purchased the weapon he used from a licensed dealer.
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2015-39-28
Friday, 28 Aug 2015 11:39 AM
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