DeWayne Craddock’s family members have posted a note on their door offering prayers for the Virginia Beach mass shooting victims but also expressing their grief.
A picture of Craddock’s family was slowly starting to emerge the day after he murdered a dozen people. Heavy has learned that Craddock, 40, also once had a wife, but she moved out and, according to The Washington Post, the couple divorced in 2017. Here’s their marriage record:
It was, perhaps, the sole sign (at least known so far) that something was unraveling in the world of Craddock, a former member of the Virginia National Guard and a city worker who once gave community leaders a tour of a pumping plant and whose name was stamped on municipal press releases.
On a Friday, May 31, 2019, Craddock unleashed mayhem on Virginia Beach. Police say the city engineer shot and killed 12 people, 11 of them city workers and one a man seeking a permit at the Virginia beach municipal complex, building 2. You can read about the lives of each victim here.
The motive remains unclear and local authorities pushed back at some news accounts that alleged Craddock had been fired, saying he was still a current city worker. Meanwhile, those who knew him best and who might shed light on what caused him to snap – his parents and ex-wife – aren’t talking, at least not much. He had no apparent social media presence – at all – and left no online manifesto, as far as anyone knows. Neighbors told multiple media outlets that they didn’t know him very well. He had no apparent criminal history.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Family’s Note Offered Condolences to the Victims
Craddock’s family has kept a low-profile since their son perpetrated mass murder.
According to the Washington Post, WAVY-TV and CNN, Craddock’s family, in Yorktown, VA, posted a sign on their door that read:
“The family of DeWayne Craddock wishes to send our heart felt condolences to the victims. We are grieving the loss of our loved one. At this time we wish to focus on the victims and the lives loss (sic) during yesterdays (sic) tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who loss their lives, and those recovering in the hospital.”
Craddock’s mother’s Facebook page – before it disappeared – indicated the family has roots in North Carolina. Old newspaper clippings show she posted multiple classified ads on behalf of a realty in the past. Her recent Facebook posts are about travels to places like Miami, a jazz festival, and the African-American history museum in Washington D.C. There weren’t any publicly visible photos of her son on her page. Reached by CNN, Craddock’s parents indicated they didn’t know of any problems he was having at work.
2. Craddock’s Parents Were Mentioned in an Old Newspaper Article About His National Guard Service
An old Newport newspaper article, from 1996, says this of Craddock, referring to him as DeWayne Hamilton: “Army National Guard Pvt. DeWayne Hamilton, son of Vestere O. Craddock and former ward of James H. Craddock of Newport News, has arrived at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., to begin one station unit training. He is a 1996 graduate of Denbigh High School, Newport News.” CNN confirmed that this was the same person as the DeWayne Craddock who is the mass shooter. Online records reviewed by Heavy also show Craddock linked to Vestere.
A 1997 article in the same newspaper reported that DeWayne “graduated from One Station Unit Training at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla.” The New York Times reports that Craddock once worked for the Army Training and Support Center.
He was a 1996 graduate of Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia.
The National Guard provided Heavy with this information. “Dewayne A. Craddock enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in April 1996. He was assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as a 13B cannon crew member. He was discharged in April 15 2002, and held the rank of specialist at the time of his discharge.”
The Newport Daily Press article reported that “Craddock is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering.”
ODU said in a release that five victims had ties to the university in addition to Craddock.
3. Neighbors Say Craddock Was Reclusive But He Was Married in 2008
Neighbors described the shooter as reclusive, though: “No pet, no wife, no visitors, no nothing,” one neighbor told USA Today. “I’ve never even seen that man take groceries up to his apartment.” They said he had one other oddity: Cameras trained from his condominium to the parking lot, seemingly to protect his cars.
However, ancestry records linked to the state of Virginia Department of Health Division of Vital Records show that he was married on Valentine’s Day 2008 to a woman in Virginia Beach. There is a GoFundMe page that says a woman with that very uncommon name had breast cancer recently with worry, expenses and stress had started to “pile up”; Heavy is not printing her name to preserve her privacy. The police chief said DeWayne Craddock lived alone.
Neighbors, though, told The Washington Post they used to see a woman they called Craddock’s ex-wife walking dogs; the Post reported that Craddock and his wife were divorced in 2017. It was, perhaps, the start of instability leading on a path to mass murder, as neighbors told the Post that Craddock’s wife was a “social butterfly” described as the reclusive Craddock’s “polar opposite.”
Neighbors told WAVY-TV that Craddock kept to himself but kept odd hours and often carried a book bag.
Cassetty Howerin, 23, told the station: “You heard him walking around; he would drop stuff at like 2 a.m., and me and my roommate would try to figure out what he was doing.” She added that he was a “jacked guy, he stood maybe 6 foot and he always carried a book bag with him. That’s all I really know.”
4. People Who Know Craddock’s Parents Called Them ‘Beautiful People’
Craddock’s parents are on a church committee at First Baptist Church Denbigh, about an hour from Virginia Beach, and, there, people speak well of them, according to The Washington Post.
“They’re beautiful people, both,” Betty Ware, a deaconess, told The Post of Craddock’s parents.
She added that Craddock’s mother had served as an usher and talked about her children “all the time,” according to The Post.
5. Craddock Talked About Family to a Co-Worker
Joseph Scott, another city worker, told CNN he exchange pleasantries with Craddock in the bathroom a few minutes before the shooting.
He didn’t see any warning signs, recalling Craddock discussing his family.
“I’m sure I’m going to hear all kinds of things about DeWayne, but I liked him,” Scott told CNN. “I worked with him. He was what I thought was a good person. When we were together, we would talk about family, friends, things that we were going to do, trips we were going to take and things like that.”