ROANOKE, Va., Aug. 28 (UPI) — The man responsible for shooting and killing two Virginia journalists and wounding their interviewee bought his firearm legally, reports say.
According to a federal law official, Vester Flanagan, 41, bought two Glock 9mm handguns from a licensed dealer after passing a required background check last month.
He used one of the guns to kill reporter Alison Parker, 24, videographer Adam Ward, 27, and himself Wednesday.
In a 23-page manifesto faxed to ABC News two hours after the incident, Flanagan — once known on television as Bryce Williams — praised the work of Virginia Tech shooter Seung Hui Cho. Sources tell the outlet Flanagan used a Glock similar to that which Cho used to kill 32 people in 2007.
“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,” Flanagan wrote citing the Columbine High School shooters.
Victims Parker and Ward were reporting on a feature story about the 50th anniversary of the Smith Mountain Lake. Vicki Gardner, head of the SML Chamber of Commerce, was being interviewed when she was also shot in the back. She was rushed to a hospital and was in stable condition after undergoing surgery.
Video of the live broadcast shows Parker interviewing Gardner before shots rang out. Parker began to flee, and the camera fell to the floor. A person, believed to be the gunman, is seen walking across the camera, as he points a gun at Ward.
About six or seven shots were fired, according to WDBJ7 General Manager Jeff Marks.
Flanagan died at a Fairfax Va. hospital after suffering a self-inflicted gun wound while being confronted by police.
President Obama expressed concerns about gun violence after the incident Wednesday, saying the number of gun-related deaths in the United States far outpaces deaths from terrorism.
“What we know is that the number of people who die from gun-related incidents in this country dwarfs any deaths that happen through terrorism,” Obama said. “It breaks my heart every time you read about or hear about these kinds of incidents.”
U.S. Press Secretary Josh Earnest called upon Congress to pass more stringent laws against gun violence.
“While there is no piece of legislation that will end all violence,” he said, “there are some common sense things that only Congress can do that we know would have attainable impacts at reducing gun violence.”
He said closing the “gun show loophole,” which allows buyers to attain guns without a background checks at shows, would be a sensible action.