The double killing of 2 young American journalists
Roanoke - AFP
The gunman who shot dead two young American journalists on live TV was apparently intending to commit more violence before he took his own life, Virginia's governor said Friday.
Terry McAuliffe visited the studios of WDBJ television in Roanoke two days after Vester Flanagan killed reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, as they conducted an interview.
Flanagan, 41, a former WDBJ reporter fired in February 2013, fatally shot himself a few hours later after police caught up with his rented get-away car on a highway that leads into the city of Washington.
"We've learned today that this individual had a lot more ammunition and more intent to hurt a lot more people, we believe," McAuliffe told reporters outside the studios afterwards.
"We clearly can't get into his mind and find out what he was planning to do, but obviously there were some bad intentions," he added.
Flanagan used a Glock handgun -- bought legally at a Virginia gun shop, federal firearms authorities say -- to kill Parker and Ward and wound their interview subject, a local chamber of commerce official.
Inside his car, which he crashed during pursuit, police found a loaded Glock, six magazines, a to-do list and 17 stamped letters, according to a Virginia State Police search warrant released late Thursday.
Also found were a briefcase with contents that included three license tags, a wig and a shawl. The contents of the to-do list have not been disclosed.
The double killing renewed debate about gun control in the United States, where citizens' right to "keep and bear arms" is enshrined in the Constitution.
McAuliffe, a Democrat and gun-owning hunter, said he favors extending "common sense" background checks for firearms purchases.
Such federally mandated checks now apply only to purchases at licensed gun shops. They do not include gun shows, private sales and online transactions.
"If you go to a gun show, there are big signs in certain booths that say: 'Come by your gun here -- we don't do background checks here'," he said.
"Why would you need a sign like that?"
McAuliffe acknowledged that Flanagan had passed his background check without a problem, "so the point is that you won't stop all violence."
President Barack Obama pushed for broader firearm background checks in the wake of the December 2012 massacre of 20 children at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
But the initiative -- fiercely opposed by the influential National Rifle Association -- died in the Senate after failing to muster sufficient votes.