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12 Killed in Mass Shooting at Virginia Beach Municipal Center
By Nancy E. Sheppard

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VIRGINIA BEACH - At approximately 4:30 p.m. on May 31, local 9-1-1 operators received a phone call that seemed almost unfathomable – there was an active shooter on the campus of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. The entire center was placed on lockdown while employees pushed furniture against doors and hid under their desks in their cubicles. Officers from the Virginia Beach Police Department entered Building 2, which houses several of the city’s agencies, including Public Utilities. They moved swiftly through the building and soon located the shooter. They engaged in an extensive volley of gunfire in which one officer was injured; his life saved by the Kevlar vest he was wearing. The shooter fell, wounded. The officers attempted to provide first aid, but the shooter succumbed to his injuries.

As building 2 was evacuated, employees covered in blood described stepping over the bodies of their fallen and injured coworkers. They were shaking, crying, and in utter disbelief over what happened in the last hours of their work week.

The Virginia Beach Police Department, working in conjunction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Police, located all of the dead; one in his vehicle in the parking lot, and the rest scattered throughout the three floors of the building. The injured were taken to area hospitals, with one dying en route to the hospital. All told, twelve people needlessly lost their lives.

A shaken Governor Northam arrived soon after and was briefed alongside Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer and Rep. Elaine Luria (DVA2). Throughout the evening and into the early hours of Saturday June 1, more information was revealed to the public:

The shooter was identified as DeWayne Craddock, 40. He worked as a certified professional engineer for the city. The former member of the Army National Guard was described by his neighbors as a quiet man who they rarely saw throughout the day. That afternoon, he entered building 2 and used a .45- caliber handgun with extended magazines and a suppressor to shoot his coworkers. At the time of this piece, a motive for his actions have not been revealed.

The twelve victims are:
  • Laquita C. Brown, Public Works employee, Chesapeake
  • Tara Welch Gallagher, Public Works employee, Virginia Beach
  • Mary Louise Gayle, Public Works employee, Virginia Beach
  • Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Public Works employee, Virginia Beach
  • Katherine A. Nixon, Public Utilities employee, Virginia Beach
  • Richard H. Nettleton, Public Utilities employee, Norfolk
  • Christopher Kelly Rapp, Public Works employee, Powhatan
  • Ryan Keith Cox, Public Utilities employee, Virginia Beach
  • Joshua A. Hardy, Public Utilities employee, Virginia Beach
  • Robert "Bobby” Williams, Public Utilities employee, Chesapeake
  • Michelle "Missy” Langer, Public Utilities employee, Virginia Beach
  • Herbert "Bert” Snelling, Contractor, Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera emphasized that dignity and respect must be paid to the victims and all of those affected by what many agree is the most tragic event in Virginia Beach history. He also has asked for after first print, that Craddock be referred to as only "the suspect” and the "shooter” to remind others to focus on those who lost their lives and were affected.

The horrible events that afternoon resonate throughout the country, with other locales, residents, politicians, and celebrities sending their sympathies and prayers for all of those involved. At a press conference on the evening of May 31, Governor Northam said, "Tonight, we are all about Virginia Beach.” Mayor Dyer added, "Virginia Beach is a city of resolve and dedication.

The investigation is ongoing, but the Virginia Beach City Government has set up a webpage with information for anyone who would like to contribute to the victims.

If you would like to volunteer or contribute, visit: https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/communications-office/Pages/Emergency-Support.aspx.


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