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Suspect in Virginia TV shooting claimed discrimination at Florida job

Reuters , Wednesday 26 Aug 2015
Virginia
Vester Lee Flanagan, who was known on-air as Bryce Williams is shown in this handout photo from TV station WDBJ7 obtained by Reuters August 26, 2015. (Photo:Reuters)
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The suspected gunman in the shooting deaths of two television journalists in Virginia on Wednesday had sued a TV station where he worked in Florida, alleging discrimination because he was black.

Vester Flanagan, 41, was called a "monkey" by a producer, he said in a lawsuit filed in federal court against a Tallahassee station, WTWC, in 2000. He also said a supervisor at the station called black people lazy.

Flanagan later worked for WDBJ7 in Virginia, where he went on the air under the name Bryce Williams, the station said. The anchors said he left the station a couple of years ago not on good terms.

The journalists for WDBJ were allegedly shot and killed on-air in Virginia on Wednesday by Flanagan, police said.

The Florida case was settled and dismissed the next year, court records show.

Flanagan was a weekend news anchor and night reporter at the Florida station, which said at the time of the lawsuit that his contract was not renewed due to budget cuts, according to a 2000 article in the Tallahassee Democrat.

According to his social media sites, Flanagan attended San Francisco State University. A university spokesman said he graduated in 1995 with a degree in radio and television.

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