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Gunman in Virginia TV shooting had history of workplace issues

While authorities said they had not determined a motive, perceived racism appeared to be a factor in the shootings, according to posts on social media attributed to the shooter and a fax that ABC News said had been sent by the gunman.

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Vester Flanagan, 41, who went on the air under the name Bryce Williams, was a former employee of WDBJ7 in Virginia, where both of the slain journalists worked.

He shot himself as police pursued him on a Virginia highway hours after the shooting. Flanagan, who was African-American, died later at a hospital, police said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the journalists, who were both white, were shot dead during a live television broadcast.

White House renews call for gun control after Virginia TV shooting

The White House renewed its call for gun control in the wake of the shooting. 

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that Congress can pass legislation that would have a “tangible impact of reducing gun violence in this country.”

“My heart goes out to the families affected,” President Barack Obama said in a television interview in New Orleans, adding that such gun violence occurs “all too often in this country.”

He said the United States needs to do “a better job of making sure that people who have problems, people who shouldn’t have guns, don’t have them.”

Hours after the shooting, someone claiming to have filmed it posted video online.

The videos were posted to a Twitter account and on Facebook by a man identifying himself as Bryce Williams.

The videos were removed shortly afterward.

In one video, a handgun was clearly visible as the person filming approached the female reporter. In the posts on the Twitter feed, he accused one of the victims of “racist comments,” and noted that a complaint had been filed with a government agency that enforces discrimination claims.

In a 23-page fax ABC News said was sent two hours after the shooting, he cited as his tipping point the racially motivated shooting that killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, earlier this summer.

Saying he had suffered racial discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying at work, Flanagan described himself as “a human powder keg,” the network said.

Flanagan aired similar grievances in a 2000 lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court against a Florida station, WTWC-TV in Tallahassee.

In that suit, he said a producer had called him a “monkey,” and he accused a supervisor of calling black people lazy for not taking advantage of college scholarship opportunities.

The Florida case was settled and dismissed, court records show. One of his former Florida colleagues remembered Flanagan as “quirky,” but said he never displayed behavior suggesting he would be capable of such a violent crime. “He had his idiosyncrasies, a little quirky sometimes,” said Michael Walker, the weekend producer at the Tallahassee station when Flanagan was working as a weekend anchor.

“It probably wasn’t any different than any other on-air personality.” Walker, who is also black, said that he had not experienced discrimination at the station.

Flanagan, who accused the station of terminating his contract because he had filed a report of racism with a state agency, said in the lawsuit he suffered emotional distress and financial losses as a result of his treatment at the station.

The NBC affiliate, which stopped broadcasting newscasts in late 2000, said at the time of the lawsuit that his contract was not renewed due to “corporate belt-tightening,” according to an article in the Tallahassee Democrat at that time.

The station confirmed Flanagan’s employment for about one year and noted in a statement that his discrimination complaint was dismissed by a government agency and the lawsuit resolved. Flanagan’s 20-year career in journalism included stints at local news stations in San Francisco; Savannah, Georgia; and Midland, Texas, according to his LinkedIn profile.

It said he also worked briefly outside of journalism as a customer service representative.

He graduated from San Francisco State University in 1995 with a degree in radio and television, the school confirmed.

According to a Facebook page believed to belong to the suspect, he was originally from Oakland, California, but most recently living in Roanoke, Virginia, where WDBJ7 broadcasts.

There, he gained a reputation as someone who was difficult to work with because of his anger, station manager Jeff Marks said during a live broadcast.

“Vester was an unhappy man,” Marks said, adding that he had to be escorted out of the building by police after he was terminated from the station in 2013.

“He did not take that well,” he added.

WDBJ7 President and General Manager Jeff Marks said he knew of no particular connection between Flanagan and the two slain journalists.

From the bottom of our hearts thank you all so much for the calls, flowers, emails, and messages of love and support. pic.twitter韩国半永久纹眉会所,/a34rVH7QES

— WDBJ7 (@WDBJ7) August 26, 2015Vigil held for victims

Vigil held for victims Roanoke-area residents brought flowers and food to the WDBJ7 studio late on Wednesday, and parishioners at the Bethlehem United Methodist Church in Moneta, near the scene of the shooting, held a prayer vigil for Gardner.

On-air WDBJ7 personalities, who earlier acknowledged holding back tears as they reported on the deaths of their colleagues, said local ministers had reached out offering support.

Post by WDBJ7 on Wednesday, 26 August 2015.