ROANOKE, Va. (AP) -- On the day he was fired from a Virginia TV station, Vester Flanagan pressed a wooden cross into his boss' hand as two police officers walked him to the door. "You'll need this," he said.
More than two years later, Flanagan -- fulfilling a threat to put his conflict with co-workers into "the headlines" -- gunned down two station employees during a live morning broadcast, one of them a cameraman who had filmed his firing.
But as station employees struggled Thursday to explain the events that framed Flanagan's anger, others who had run across the gunman in the time since he lost his job at WDBJ-TV described a man whose hair-triggered temper was increasingly set off by slights that were more often imagined than real.
A former co-worker at a call center where he worked until late 2014 recalled how her off-hand comment that the often boisterous Flanagan was acting quiet led him to try to grab her by the shoulder, and tell her never to talk to him again.
At a bar in Roanoke, the manager recalled Flanagan was so incensed when no one thanked him as he left that he sent a nearly 20-page letter, lambasting employees' behavior.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.