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Reporter's Boyfriend: Online Posts by Va. Shooter For 'Notoriety'

Image: Reporter's Boyfriend: Online Posts by Va. Shooter For 'Notoriety'
WDBJ TV weatherman Leo Hirshbrunner views makeshift memorial for two slain journalists with members of the crew outside WDBJ's TV studios August 27, 2015, in Roanoke, Virginia.

Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 09:33 AM

Social media posts by the man suspected of brazenly shooting two television journalists during a live broadcast in Virginia show a disturbing trend of unashamed exhibition of his crimes on the Internet, the partner of one of the victims said on Thursday.

Chris Hurst told NBC on Thursday that the suspect, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, "obviously was in a state of mind that was not reasonable or rational."

"What we are starting to see is continued boldness from people who want to commit murders in cold blood for notoriety," said Hurst, who was a news anchor at WDBJ7 and was dating one of the slain journalists, Alison Parker. "I have no words for him. I have no thoughts for him."

Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were shot dead on Wednesday during a live segment for the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, at a local recreation site about 200 miles (320 km) southwest of Washington. Another woman was wounded.

Someone who appeared to be Flanagan, a former reporter at the station, then posted video to Facebook and Twitter that showed the attack from the gunman's vantage point as well as comments indicating he had grievances against WDBJ7, which fired him in 2013.

The video was quickly removed from social media sites but not before being saved and posted elsewhere. One U.S. newspaper, the N.Y. Daily News, drew criticism for using pictures from that video on its Thursday front page.

The woman being interviewed, Vicki Gardner, head of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, was wounded in the attack and is likely to make a full recovery, her husband said on Thursday.

"I'm told she's doing better," Tim Gardner told NBC, adding that she faces more surgery later Thursday. His voice trembled as he recounted witnessing the horror live on television. "It was a pretty bad few minutes."

Flanagan later died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said. He sent ABC News a 23-page statement after the shooting, saying his attack was triggered by the June 17 mass shooting at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the network said. A white man has been charged in that rampage.

Flanagan, who is black, cited anger over what he saw as racial discrimination at work and elsewhere, ABC said. His three victims were white.

Hurst told CBS that Flanagan's discrimination claims against WDBJ7 were unfounded: "We need to figure out if there's anything that can be done in the future to help these people who want to harbor hate in their heart."

Earlier on Thursday, WDBJ held a moment of silence to remember the two, according to media reports.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Social media posts by the man suspected of brazenly shooting two television journalists during a live broadcast in Virginia show a disturbing trend of unashamed exhibition of his crimes on the Internet, the partner of one of the victims said on Thursday.Chris Hurst told NBC...
parker, va, shooter, online, posts
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2015-33-27
Thursday, 27 Aug 2015 09:33 AM
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