The man who killed two journalists on live television in Virginia sent a suicide note to ABC News claiming the killings were in response to the shootings at a Charleston, SC, church that killed 9 people in June.
Bryce Williams, AKA Vester Lee Flanagan, contacted ABC News several times over the last several weeks saying he wanted to pitch a story to them. He never gave them an idea what the story was. Then today, Williams faxed what he called a “suicide note” in which he claimed the shooting of the reporters was a response to the Charleston killings and that he desired a race war.
This morning, a fax was in the machine (time stamped 8:26 a.m.) almost two hours after the shooting. A little after 10 a.m., he called again, and introduced himself as Bryce, but also said his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, and that he shot two people this morning. While on the phone, he said authorities are “after me,” and “all over the place.” He hung up. ABC News contacted the authorities immediately and provided them with the fax.
In the 23-page document faxed to ABC News, the writer says “MY NAME IS BRYCE WILLIAMS” and his legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II.” He writes what triggered today’s carnage was his reaction to the racism of the Charleston church shooting:
“Why did I do it? 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.”
It is unclear whose initials he is referring to. He continues, “As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!” He said Jehovah spoke to him, telling him to act.
Later in the manifesto, the writer quotes the Virginia Tech mass killer, Seung Hui Cho, calls him “his boy,” and expresses admiration for the Columbine High School killers. “Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harrisand Dylann Klebold got…just sayin.'”
In an often rambling letter to the authorities, and family and friends, he writes of a long list of grievances. In one part of the document, Williams calls it a “Suicide Note for Friends and Family.”
- He says has suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work
- He says he has been attacked by black men and white females
- He talks about how he was attacked for being a gay, black man
“Yes, it will sound like I am angry…I am. And I have every right to be. But when I leave this Earth, the only emotion I want to feel is peace….”
Perhaps someone should point out the vicious, hateful rhetoric coming from some “activists” following the Charleston tragedy as a motivating factor for Williams’ act. But I won’t.
This man is obviously mentally ill, but is he responsible for his actions? Like the Aurora, Colorado, shooter James Holmes who was found fit to stand trial despite mental illness, Williams demonstrated no outward signs of an illness that would disqualify him from facing justice.
By taking his own life, Williams closed off any official investigation of his actions and will remain something of a mystery.