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Moneta, VA - License Plate Reader Led Police To TV Shooter Suspect

Published on: August 26, 2015 08:01 PM
By: AP
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Virginia State Police Trooper Pamela Neff (L) addresses reporters about her traffic stop of Vester L. Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, off Highway I-66 in Fauquier County, Virginia August 26, 2015. REUTERSVirginia State Police Trooper Pamela Neff (L) addresses reporters about her traffic stop of Vester L. Flanagan, also known as Bryce Williams, off Highway I-66 in Fauquier County, Virginia August 26, 2015. REUTERS

Moneta, VA - A license plate reader used by Virginia State Police helped spot the car the Virginia TV shooter suspect was driving.

Authorities say the suspect in the on-air fatal shooting of two journalists was found by Virginia state troopers after he switched from his vehicle to a rental car he’d gotten earlier this month.

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A Virginia state trooper located him driving on the interstate using license plate recognition equipment.

State Police Sgt. Rick Garletts says the trooper followed Flanagan until backup arrived, then turned on her flashing lights. The suspect tried to evade her but after a couple of minutes, he ran off the road into the median.

The suspect, 41-year-old Vester Flanagan, shot himself as police pursued him on the Virginia highway hours after the shooting. Flanagan, who was African-American, died later at a hospital, police said.

Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton says Flanagan fled the scene of the shooting, at a mall where the journalists were doing an interview, before deputies arrived. Shortly before 11 a.m., Roanoke police found his Ford Mustang at the city’s airport. The Mustang is being treated as evidence.

Overton says Flanagan then left the airport in the Chevy Sonic he’d rented earlier in the month.

The journalists who were killed were reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27. Both journalists were white, as is a woman who they were interviewing. The woman was wounded and was in stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

A getaway car of suspected gunman Vester L. Flanagan is towed away on a flatbed tow truck on highway I-66 in Fauquier County, Virginia August 26, 2015. Two television journalists were shot and killed in Virginia on Wednesday in an attack during a live early-morning broadcast, and authorities said the suspected gunman Flanagan was a former employee of the TV station. Flanagan shot and wounded himself several hours later as police pursued him on the Virginia highway, police said.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque A getaway car of suspected gunman Vester L. Flanagan is towed away on a flatbed tow truck on highway I-66 in Fauquier County, Virginia August 26, 2015. Two television journalists were shot and killed in Virginia on Wednesday in an attack during a live early-morning broadcast, and authorities said the suspected gunman Flanagan was a former employee of the TV station. Flanagan shot and wounded himself several hours later as police pursued him on the Virginia highway, police said.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque


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