Nearly two hours after two TV journalists were shot and killed Wednesday in Roanoke, Virginia, during a live broadcast, ABC News received a 23-page fax from someone claiming to be Bryce Williams. The fax followed weeks of phone calls from Williams, the professional name of Vester Lee Flanagan, the suspected gunman, who was trying to pitch a story to the TV network, ABC News reported.
While the entire contents of the manifesto were not immediately made available -- nor have they been independently verified -- excerpts that were released provided apotential glimpse into Flanagan's motives. He has been described as a disgruntled former employee of WDBJ-TV, where the two victims, reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, worked.
The fax purportedly sent by Flanagan, who reportedly called ABC News later Wednesday morning saying he had shot two people and that the authorities were “after me,” indicated the shooting was staged as a reaction to the racially motivated church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, which targeted black parishioners.
"Why did I do it?" the fax read in part. "I put down a deposit for a gun on 6/19/15. The Church shooting in Charleston happened on 6/17/15…What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them."
The manifesto goes on to reference Dylann Roof, the man who committed the Charleston shooting, and also mentions the perpetrators in the 1999 Columbine High School fatal attack in Colorado and the deadly Virginia Tech campus shooting of 2007. The author of the manifesto claimed to have been discriminated against based on his race and sexual identity.
Flanagan was African-American.
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry... I am.," the manifesto continued. "And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace...”
The rambling manifesto is full of grievances, including a section titled, “Suicide Note for Friends and Family,” according to ABC News.