Executive Director of the Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce Vicki Gardner was being interviewed by WDBJ7-TV reporter Alison Parker when former WDBJ reporter Bryce Williams (Vester Flanagan) arrived to their location near Moneta, Virginia.
The shooting began around 6:45 a.m. In the video he recorded from his cell phone, Bryce Williams can be heard saying, “Bitch” as he points the gun at Alison Parker. Yet he does not fire the black handgun yet. Neither Alison Parker nor Vicki Gardner notices the gun being pointed at them. Cameraman Adam Ward pans the scenery around Bridgewater Plaza, unaware that someone with a handgun is behind him. Bryce Williams waits more than twenty seconds before firing the first bullet at Alison Parker. At least 15 shots can be heard in the graphic video. Alison Parker, Adam Ward and Vicki Gardner were all shot by Bryce Williams within seconds. Alison Parker and Adam Ward died from gun shot wounds. Vicki Gardner was apparently shot in the back and is currently undergoing surgery.
At first, WDBJ7-TV General Manager Jeff Marks didn’t see a connection between the shooter and the victims, according to a CNN report by Eliott C. McLaughlin. Bryce Williams worked for WDBJ as a reporter for a year before being fired February of 2013. It’s believed Williams was still living in the area at the time of the shooting. The motive was unclear at first, but Williams was fired from WDBJ7-TV two years ago for “anger issues.”
“I don’t think Alison and that individual even overlapped here,” said WDBJ General Manager Jeff Marks. Marks described Williams as having “a reputation for being difficult to work with,” and felt he was an “unhappy man.”
Melissa Ott was Adam Ward’s fiancé, and she was also a producer for the morning show at WDBJ7-TV. She was in the control room of WDBJ when the shooting happened.
Around 11:30 a.m. Bryce William’s Ford Mustang was spotted by Virginia State Police heading east on Interstate 66. Police attempted to stop the vehicle but Williams ran the car off the road before crashing nearby. Williams was found in the driver’s seat with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He still had a pulse but was in a “life-threatening” condition.
Virginia State Police Spokesperson Corinne Geller said Williams was transferred to a hospital where he died later.
On his Twitter account, Bryce Williams accused Alison Parker of making racist statements. After working with Bryce Williams “one time” Adam Ward reported him to Human Resources, which is something that must have happened before Williams was fired in February of 2013.
At 8:26 a.m., two hours after he committed the murders, Bryce Williams sent a 23 page fax to ABC News. The fax was then turned over to authorities. In the fax, Williams wrote several bizarre statements that have since been released by ABC, “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)!!!…Also, I was influenced by Seung–Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylann Klebold got…just sayin…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!!!!”
“In one part of the document,” according to the ABC New report on the 23 pages, “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.”
Bryce Williams also sued a Tallahassee, Florida TV station for racial discrimination in 2000 after he was fired.