The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

A look at the Virginia shooter’s suicide memo

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Horror in Roanoke: A community reacts

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WDBJ-TV7 news morning anchor Kimberly McBroom, center, gets a hug from visiting anchor Steve Grant, left, as meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner reflects after their early morning newscast at the station, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Roanoke, Va. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Right after Vester L. Flanagan II shot and killed two former co-workers on live television Wednesday, he sent a 22-page suicide note he had written not long before to ABC News.

The note — part of which is addressed fondly to his father — is riddled with expletives and “LOL’s” throughout as he tries to console those who are close to him while calling out by name the teachers and co-workers he says have bullied him and ruined his career. Here are a few passages from the letter obtained by The Washington Post. Expletives have been noted out.

On the Charleston church shooting: 

What sent me over the top was the church shooting. And my hollow point bullets have the initials on them. As for Dylann Roof? You mother ******* piece of ****. You want a race war *****? BRING IT THEN YOU WHITE ****** ******* *****!! I swear I wish I could get his ***** ***!! Am I a hypocrite? Um, no. Well, maybe a little but I have REASONS. It should be noted that the church shooting took place on June 17th. I put down a deposit for firearms on June 19th…the handwritten receipt shows the 18th but an attached bank receipt shows June 19th. Don’t **** with me *****. i ain’t the one yo!! Yeah I spoke Ebonics! And what? Ya gonna write me up for that *****???

On the Virginia Tech shooting

Also, I was influenced by Seung-Hui Cho. That’s my boy right there. He got NEARLY double the amount that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold got…just sayin’. Cho was brilliant and smooth. We actually practiced at the same shooting range in Roanoke, my choice of Glock 19’s was influenced by him and the pawn shop where purchased a firearm is only a few blocks away from my home. I actually went by there but didn’t like it. He also influenced me decision to buy hollow point bullets.

For those who don’t like it, in the words of Mr. Cho, “All the [****] you’ve given me, right back at you with hollow points.”

He went on to say,”When the time came, I did it. I had to..You had a hundred billion chances and ways to have avoided today, but you decided to spill my blood. You forced me into a corner and gave me only one option. The decision was yours. Now you have blood on your hands that will never wash off.”

While much of his anger had to do with debauchery and spoiled rich kids … my feelings are related to other issues. BUT, out feelings are very similar. I grew up privileged my damn self.

The church shooting was the tipping point. … but my anger has been building steadily … I’ve been a human powder keg for a while … just waiting to go BOOM!!!! at any moment…

On his childhood: 

I am so blessed to have had a great childhood. Both of my parents were GREAT when I was a kid. Even though growing up as a Jehovah Witness, I was unable to take part in the Halloween parade at school or become a Cub Scout (or Boy Scout), we still celebrated birthdays, so that was cool.

My mother helped me complete book reports as I was terrified of reading. Why? You’d have to speak to the little boy I used to be for the answer: I surely would have flunked without her help. I still have book reports that I kept. I’m very sentimental. She also gave offered [sic] lots of encouragement when I was bullied by at least one teacher in school. (I had a LOT of great teachers who supported me as well … more supporters than haters…far more). I won awards for spelling.

My father was also a great dad when I was a child. He was drafted by the Green Bay Packers and had an incredible career as a college administrator. I appreciated him sitting in my 1st grade class [when my teacher] attacked me … .

On growing apart from his family: 

Sadly, over the years, we have grown apart. I can take some blame for that—but not all. I’m not sure “blame” is a good word to use. But I CAN say it’s disturbing and disappointing when you walk into a parent’s home and don’t see ANY pictures of you. Yet others are featured prominently—even extended family members. That was NOT always the case…

The “pride” (from others who once supported me) subsided dramatically after I had the terrible experience in Tallahassee, Florida. The words of encouragement came to a screeching halt, the “shows of encouragement” also stopped abruptly. I felt as though *I* was the one who did something wrong. That’s not cool.

On growing old:

I have NO desire to grow old… I don’t care about lost time…People can call me a quitter, weak, a coward, selfish … zzzzz I have heard it all  before. Maybe the person who told me who I COULD and COULD NOT beat can rejoice … “See, told you he couldn’t (do this ‘n that.”)

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