GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump told CNN the shooting of WDBJ7 reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward "isn't a gun problem, it's a mental health problem."
Donald Trump believes the shooting of two Virginia reporters is a mental health issue.
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This was what Trump told CNN (via TheHIll.com) on Thursday:
"Mental illness is a massive problem.
"This isn't a gun problem, it's a mental health problem. You're not going to get rid of all guns.
"It's becoming a very dangerous situation. It's a very sad commentary on life, frankly."
Vester Lee Flanagan shot journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward. Both Parker and Ward worked for WDBJ7 in Roanoke, Va. Flanagan is their former colleague. He went by the name "Bryce Williams" when he worked for the station, per TheHill.com.
Parker and Ward died at the scene. Parker was 24 years old. Ward was 27 years old, per CNN.
Parker was interviewing an older woman named Vicki Gardner at the time of the shooting. Flanagan shot the latter in the back. She survived and is now in stable condition, per TheHill.com.
Authorities traced Flanagan's cellphone number. A state trooper asked him to pull over but he sped off. Police pursued Flanagan on the freeway.
Moments later, he crashed into an embankment. Police discovered him with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They rushed him to a nearby hospital. Doctors pronounced him dead, per CNN.
Dan Dennison was WDBJ7's news director from 2011 to 2013. He hired Flanagan in 2012. He terminated him less than a year later.
Dennison told HawaiiNewsNow.com on Aug. 27 he fired Flanagan because of his sub-par performance.
Flanagan's relationship with his colleagues was another reason for his dismissal. WDBJ7's official website confirmed this.
WDBJ7.com described how Flanagan interacted with his fellow employees:
"Flanagan was placed on a final warning in December 2012 for failure to check his facts in a news story and, generally, for poor news judgment.
"In January 2013 he accused a photographer of making trouble for him by questioning a decision to go on private property in pursuit of a story. At that point, he raised some concerns with HR of perceived unfairness, which were immediately investigated and found to be without merit.
"Shortly after that, he confronted an anchor who was assigned to review one of his scripts."
Dennison noted Flanagan felt his co-workers discriminated against him. Dennison said there was no evidence of that claim, per HawaiiNewsNow.com:
"He had a level of a long series of complaints against co-workers nearly from the beginning of employment at the TV station. That really had nothing to do with his termination, and after a lot of investigation both internally and externally, all of these allegations were deemed to be unfounded.
"And they were largely along racial lines, and we did a thorough investigation and could find no evidence that anyone had racially discriminated against this man."
Dennison said firing Flanagan was one of the toughest things he ever had to do. Flanagan didn't take the news well. Police had to escort him out of the building, per HawaiiNewsNow.com.
As authorities led Flanagan out, he handed a wooden cross to Dennison. He said, "You'll need this." Flanagan also ridiculed Ward, per WDBJ7.com.
Trump believed Flanagan harbored a tremendous amount of hatred, per CNN:
"There was tremendous hatred, tremendous animosity. This gentleman was a disaster to the public.
"People see the signals, but figure it will never happen. In the old days, we had mental institutions for people like this.
"I am very much a Second Amendment person. You need protection. It's a very complex situation.
"It's horrible. I thought about canceling this call."
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