MONETA, Virginia — Bryce Williams voiced a host of anger-laced grievances, as well as some praise, in a disjointed 23-page document that authorities say he faxed after shooting two WDBJ-TV journalists live on air Wednesday — killings that he attempted to explain.
“OK, so the big question is ‘Why’?” he wrote. “Well, after I compiled well over 100 pages chronicling the hurt in my life, I asked myself, ‘Why NOT?’ Hell, I am surprised I didn’t ‘do this’ before now.”
In one document that he called a “suicide note for friends and family,” Williams, whose legal name is Vester Lee Flanagan II, wrote, “I am so sorry for dumping on you … I am just so sick of this s*** man.”
Flanagan talked about his past, including his time growing up in Northern California and his claims to have worked as a teen model and later as a male escort in addition to his time in television news. He delved into his personal life, including his being a gay black man, offering praise for some relatives, friends and one romantic interest and condemnation for others. He admits to being “somewhat racist against whites, blacks and Latinos.”
He referenced a number of grievances, some of them decades-old, and mentioned being bullied and suffering other injustices. Some of these involve places where he worked, including WDBJ. The document does not mention either of Wednesday’s victims by name, though it does detail his gripes with the Roanoke television station.
Flanagan expressed his admiration for Seung-Hui Cho, who killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007. He also referenced the June shootings at a predominantly black African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, carried out by Dylann Roof. Roof claimed he wanted to start a “race war.”
“What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the victims’ initials on them,” Flanagan wrote. “… It should be noted that the church shooting took place on June 17th. I put down a deposit for firearms on June 19th.”
As to why he snapped, Flanagan wrote, “My anger has been building steadily … I’ve been a human powder keg for a while … just waiting to go BOOM!!!! at any moment.”
“In the final weeks of my life … I put on a smiley face to disguise what was to come,” he said. “Around town, I told some random strangers (or people I interacted with at various businesses) how I hated people. … But I would often say it with a smile on my face.”