Report: Alleged Virginia shooter Vester Flanagan claimed Charleston church shooting pushed him 'over the top'

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ABC News reported today that a man claiming to be alleged Virginia shooter Vester Lee Flanagan faxed a note to the news agency explaining his motives.


ABC reports that they first heard from someone calling himself Bryce Williams weeks ago, asking to pitch a story (he never actually did).

The news network received a fax at 8:26 a.m. EST this morning, nearly two hours after the shooting, and received a call soon after 10 a.m. EST from Williams. He told ABC News that his legal name was Vester Lee Flanagan, adding that he had shot two people earlier and that police were "all over the place," and "after me."

ABC News contacted authorities and turned over the faxed document to police. Now, the news agency has released some content from the 23-page-long note. Per ABC, Flanagan offered the following reasons for the shootings:

"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."

“As for Dylann Roof? You (deleted)! You want a race war (deleted)? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE …(deleted)!!!”

“The church shooting was the tipping point…but my anger has been building steadily…I’ve been a human powder keg for a while…just waiting to go BOOM!!!!”.

ABC adds that in the note, he says he experienced bullying, racial discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, adding that he's been attacked for being a gay, black man and has suffered at the hands of white women and black men. Flanagan also cited Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho and the Columbine killers as inspiration.

Earlier, a Twitter account apparently belonging to Flanagan published several tweets that align with his stated motives, claiming someone name "Alison" had made racist comments against him, and said he had filed an EEOC report. "They hired her after that???" one tweet said. That handle is now defunct.


Fusion is partly owned by Disney’s ABC network.

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Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.