TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – A former co-worker of the man who reportedly shot and killed a TV reporter and cameraman during a live news broadcast says he was “off-kilter” and that he thought news anchoring was about “acting.”
According to the alleged gunman’s LinkedIn profile, he briefly worked at WTWC-TV in Tallahassee from March 1999 to March 2000.
Kimberly Moore Wilmoth said she worked with Vester Flanagan at that station.
Wilmoth describes Flanagan as a loner who didn’t socialize with other reporters. She says he got mad when co-workers made light of on-air mistakes.
She said that “he didn’t laugh at our jokes or at himself when he would make a mistake.”
She recounted one story in which he filmed an elderly man trapped inside a car during a flood even though the man was calling out for help.
“Instead of helping the man, he used the man as a prop,” Wilmoth said.
Flanagan was reportedly fired from that TV station, and later filed a racial discrimination suit again the broadcaster.
The station also confirmed the case was settled the next year.
Authorities say 41-year-old Flanagan, who was fired in 2013 from WDBJ in Roanoke, Virginia, had evidently been planning the attack for some time.
In a video allegedly shot by Flanagan from a first person perspective, a person is seen shooting WDBJ reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, as they were doing a live report Wednesday.
Authorities said as Flanagan fled the scene, he posted the video on Facebook and Twitter. He also reportedly faxed a 23-page manifesto and “suicide note” to ABC News, describing himself as a “human powder keg” that was “just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”
Troopers caught up with him hours later and hundreds of miles away after he fatally shot himself and ran off the road.
Parker and Ward died at the scene after the gunman fired about 15 shots. Their interview subject, Vicki Gardner, was in stable condition later Wednesday after surgery for her wounds.
Flanagan was described by Jeffrey Marks, WDBJ’s president and general manager as an “an unhappy man” and “difficult to work with,” always “looking out for people to say things he could take offense to.”
“Eventually after many incidents of his anger coming to the fore, we dismissed him. He did not take that well,” Marks explained, adding that police had to escort him out of the station when he was fired.
The shooting happened around 6:45 a.m. at Bridgewater Plaza in Franklin County, as Parker interviewed Gardner about the upcoming 50th anniversary festivities for Smith Mountain Lake, a local tourism destination.