HONOLULU — The former news director of a Virginia television station said Wednesday the former employee who shot a reporter and cameraman on live television was fired largely for performance issues.
Vester Lee Flanagan II was hired in 2012 and terminated the following year, Dan Dennison, who is currently a senior communications manager at the Hawaii state Department of Land and Natural Resources, told Hawaii News Now.
Dennison was news director at the Roanoke, Virginia station for two years from 2011. He was previously news director for several Hawaii television stations.
Dennison told Hawaii News Now that Flanagan had a long series of complaints against co-workers. Dennison says these complaints had nothing to do with his termination.
“After a lot of investigation both internally and externally, all of these allegations were deemed to be unfounded. And they were largely under along racial lines, and we did a thorough investigation and could find no evidence that anyone had racially discriminated against this man,” Dennison said.
Flanagan fatally shot himself hours after he shoot his former co-workers.
Dennison said he brought the cameraman, 27-year-old Adam Ward, over from the production department into the news department, first as a part-time photographer.
“He was such a quick study and just a great young man,” Dennison said, adding that he was later promoted to be the morning photographer.
Dennison said the reporter, Alison Parker, 24, was an intern at the station when he was there and he didn’t have a lot of interaction with her. “She seemed to be a very bright, vivacious young woman,” Dennison said.
Dennison said he was asleep when he got a call about the shooting from a former colleague.
“They were both really just great young people and it’s such a tragic circumstance,” Dennison said (about Parker and Ward). “You just never know when you’re going to work how a potentially unhinged or unsettled person might impact your life in such a tragic way as we saw in Roanoke this morning.”
Information from: KGMB-TV, http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/