Twelve people lost their lives after an active shooter, a public works employee, randomly opened fire at the Virginia Beach municipal center’s “Building 2,” according to Virginia Beach police. More people are wounded, including a police officer, with four undergoing surgery.
Building 2 is located next to city hall, where the Department of Public Works is located. Other offices, such as those dealing with zoning issues, are also located in building 2. The mayor, Bobby Dyer, said, “This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach. The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”
The suspect was named by the Wall Street Journal and on police scanner traffic obtained by Heavy as DeWayne Craddock. The WSJ reported that Craddock was fired and returned to municipal building 2 to “exact revenge.” However, the police chief described him as a current employee in his first press conference. You can read more about Craddock here. He’s a city engineer.
Here are the deceased victims’ names. They are of multiple ages, ethnic backgrounds, and genders. Their time of service ranged from a couple months to 41 years.
“I have worked with most of them for many years,” said Dave Hansen, Virginia Beach City Manager. “We want you to know who they were so in the weeks to come you will learn what they meant to all of us, to their friends, to their families, and to their co-workers. They leave a void that we will never be able to fill.”
Laquita C. Brown worked in public works for 4.5 years, as a right of way agent. She was from Chesapeake.
Tara Welch Gallagher worked in public works for 6 years, and was an engineer from Virginia Beach.
Mary Louise Gayle had 24 years in public works as a right-of-way agent and was from Virginia Beach.
Alexander Mikhail Gusev spent 9 years in public works as a right of way agent and was from Virginia Beach.
Katherine A. Nixon, spent 10 years in public utilities as an engineer and was from Virginia Beach.
Richard H. Nettleton spent 28 years in public utilities as an engineer and was from Norfolk. He also served in an engineer brigade in Germany.
Christopher Kelly Rapp had 11 months in the job as an engineer in public works and was from Powhatan.
Ryan Keith Cox spent 12.5 years in public utilities as an account clerk and was from Virginia Beach.
Joshua A. Hardy worked in public utilities for 4.5 years as an engineering technician and was from Virginia Beach.
Michelle Missy Langer worked in public utilities for 12 years as an administrative assistant and was from Virginia Beach.
Robert Bobby Williams worked in public utilities for 41 years as a special projects coordinator and was from Chesapeake.
Herbert Bert Snelling was a contractor from Virginia Beach. He was there to try to fill a permit.
Police Chief James A. Cervera confirmed the casualty count, calling it a “devastating incident that happened…that is going to change the lives of a number of families from our city.” A Virginia Beach police officer was shot and “saved by his vest.” Initially, Cervera said 11 were deceased, but one more victim then died. There are likely more wounded, officials say, than just the four in surgery; people self-transported to hospitals, confusing injury counts.
One journalist reported that the death count might tragically rise.
Shortly after 4 p.m., the suspect, a long-time public utilities employee, entered and began to “indiscriminately fire on all the victims.” He was a “current employee” and the shooting occurred over multiple floors,” said the chief, countering earlier reports that the suspect was fired.
Officers responded to building 2. They secured as many of the victims as they could. “The suspect did shoot a police officer. Officers returned fire. Suspect is deceased. The scene is secure,” said the chief.
This was the first police accounting of what happened: “ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION-municipal center, building 2. Multiple injuries. At this time it is believed that only 1 shooter, and they have been taken into custody. More to follow,” Virginia Beach police reported on Twitter on the late afternoon of May 31, 2019.
Here’s archived audio of the earliest stages of the mass shooting. Be aware that it’s disturbing and that early information put out over the scanner is not always active in fast-moving situations.
At 5 p.m. on the east coast, officers were still searching the municipal building and finding people hiding. “Looking for wounded who need to be moved out,” an officer said on the scanner. Officers then said the situation had stabilized.
Scanner traffic from responding law enforcement officers referred to possible casualties, a barricaded suspect, and people hiding inside.
“We have citizens bringing a casualty out now,” authorities said on the scanner. They referred to a “barricade situation.” They also referred to “victims who are either ambulatory or alive.” A gunshot victim needed a medic in a stairwell. Authorities indicated on the scanner that they were on the second floor from where the suspect was hiding; they also indicated they had the suspect in custody. It was later confirmed that he was deceased.
NBC12 reporter Eric Perry wrote on Twitter that journalists at the scene could hear gunshots. “Hearing reports of a possible active shooter situation at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. We are monitoring the situation. Reporters on scene say they are hearing gunshots,” he wrote. He said, contrary to other reports, that the shooting situation was “NOT the COURTHOUSE but in Building 2.” You can see a map of the complex here.
“We are still actively clearing the building for victims and secondary suspects,” an officer said on the scanner earlier on.
There Was a Rush of Law Enforcement Activity to the Virginia Beach Courthouse & Municipal Center
“We’re working the incident now,” authorities said on the scanner. You can listen to the live scanner audio here.
Kofo Lasaki, a reporter for WTKR-TV, wrote on Twitter on the late afternoon of May 31, 2019: “BREAKING: Police say they are working an active incident at the Virginia Beach Courthouse. The courthouse is on lockdown and officers are out with their guns drawn @WTKR3.”
People reported a flurry of law enforcement activity. “Just passed 15 cop cars headed to courthouse on Princess Anne rd.. nice,” wrote one person on Twitter.
“There is a shooter still shooting through a door on the third floor of what im assuming is the apartments behind Harris Teeter by the courthouse,” wrote another. She also wrote: “AVOID THE COURTHOUSE AREA AT ALL COSTS. There’s an active shooter situation occurring right now and all of the cops in Virginia Beach are flying down Nimmo Parkway.”
Be aware that early accounts in active shooter situations can be conflicting and sometimes wrong. This post is being updated as more information is learned.