TV Station Called 911 When They Fired Vester Flanagan

Vester Lee Flanagan's bosses called 911 on the day they fired him from WDBJ because of his volatile behavior. The incident was captured on camera by Adam Ward, the camerman Flanagan killed on Wednesday.

At a February 2013 meeting, WDBJ managers told Flanagan he wasn’t a good fit and would be terminated. Flanagan—who went by the on-air name Bryce Williams—became “agitated,” then issued a threat, according to documents obtained by The Daily Beast that were filed in Flanagan's lawsuit against the station in 2014. (Flanagan lost.)

“He repeated … his feeling that firing him would lead to negative consequences for me personally and for the station,” former station manager Dan Dennison said. The manager said Flanagan “said he had to go to the bathroom, stood up abruptly, stormed out of the room, and slammed the door”—prompting a frightened sales team to take shelter in a locked office. During the episode, Flanagan told police there was a watermelon in a station hallway and that was akin to someone calling him the N-word. Flanagan flipped off employees and swore at them, which was recorded by Ward. (Flanagan told Ward to “lose your big gut” and turned off Ward's camera).

Finally, Flanagan handed his boss a small wooden cross and warned, “You’ll need this.”

— Katie Zavadski