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'Can't Believe It' - Oakland Neighbor Recounts Growing Up With Virginia Journalists Killer (VIDEO)

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- The longtime Oakland neighbor of a gunman who shot and killed a TV reporter and cameraman during a live news broadcast in Virginia Wednesday said he's in complete shock over the news.

The gunman, identified as 41-year-old Roanoke resident Vester Lee Flanagan II, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Franklin County sheriff.

Flanagan grew up in Oakland and graduated from Skyline High School. He later attended San Francisco State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Radio and Television.

"I'm devastated," Virgil Barker told KPIX 5 at his home. "I grew up with him ... we barbecued together."

Vester Flanagan
Vester Flanagan (Bryce Williams/Twitter)

Barker was a neighbor of Flanagan's for decades beginning in the early 1970s. They attended the funeral of each other's mothers. Flanagan's sister and children still live across the street.

Barker said he just spoke to Flanagan's sister a day earlier, but has be unable to get a hold of her on Wednesday.

"Now I have to figure out what I have to say to her. 'I'm sorry? I feel sorry for you?'" he said. "She's dealing the tragedy of other people getting shot and her brother shooting himself."

Barker, who is older than Flanagan, described him as a nice, educated and soft-spoken kid growing up.

"I never saw this coming," Barker said.

Flanagan, who went by his on-air name Bryce Williams, was described as a disgruntled former employee who had been fired from WDBJ in 2013. Flanagan also worked at CBS-owned TV station KPIX from 1993-1995.

A still image from the camera of videographer Adam Ward of WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, of the suspected gunman who shot and killed Ward, 27, and reporter Alison Parker, 24, during a live broadcast Aug. 26, 2015 WDBJ-TV


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