Herbert Bert Snelling, one of the 12 victims in the horrific Virginia Beach mass shooting tragedy, was a married contractor from Virginia Beach. Described as a man who loved Jesus deeply, he was at the municipal complex because he was trying to get a permit.
Snelling was the only non city worker to lose his life. You can see photos and tributes to the other victims here. There is a GoFundMe page set up to help Snelling’s family. You can access it here. It reads:
At 4pm On Friday May 31st Bert Snelling walked into building two at the Virginia Beach Courthouse to get a building permit. There Bert would be one of the first people fatally shot during yesterday’s cowardly mass shooting. He was the only non Virginia Beach employee that lost their lives. We know that Bert was immediately safe in the arms of Jesus but he will be deeply missed here on earth. We are raising money to help his widow Sonja with funeral costs and to supplement the income that she will no longer have. Bert was courageous, kind and he loved his wife and Jesus deeply. During this difficult time our hope remains in Jesus and his gift of eternal life. Please keep this family in your prayers as they navigate this new life.
‘While I wait
I will not be afraid
My faith will remain all the same
My hope in the things not yet seen
Found in the greatest of these’- Hillsong
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”
The other victims had worked in public utilities for the City of Virginia Beach for time periods ranging from a few months to 41 years. They were of multiple ethnic backgrounds, genders, and ages. They were shot by a disgruntled co-worker who won’t be named in this article; a city police officer was also wounded, saved by his vest as the killer fired and fired with a .45 caliber weapon equipped with a silencer. Another four people were undergoing surgery.
The horrific tragedy broke out on the last day of May, 2019, a Friday.
“It’s a horrific day for Virginia,” said Gov. Ralph Northam at one of the press conferences authorities held in the wake of the mass shooting. “It’s just a horrific day. Our thoughts are with these victims and their families.”
On the morning of June 1, police released the victims’ names with photos and biographies. (you can read our previous article rounding up the heroism of victims and survivors in past mass shootings here.)
“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.”
Here’s what you need to know about Herbert Bert Snelling:
Herbert Bert Snelling Filled His Facebook Page With Family Photos
On his Facebook page, which he filled with pictures showing him with his wife, Herbert Bert Snelling went by the name “Bert Snelling.”
His Facebook page says that Bert Snelling went to Green Run High and Floyd Kellam High, lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia,, was from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and was married to Sonja Snelling. He appears to come from a family with a long tradition of carrying the Herbert Bert Snelling name forward. His Facebook page says he became engaged to his wife back in 1980.
Basically, the page is filled with pictures of Bert Snelling and his wife. In 2014, he wrote, “Sonja Snelling and I went to see Gods not dead this morning. I have to say it’s the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time. Definitely a must see.”
Snelling Posted About Gun Rights & Was a Father
One of Snelling’s posts on Facebook involved gun rights. You can see that post above.
The photo that the city selected for its public release of victims’ photos came from a Facebook post of Snelling’s that read, “Great ride with son this morning and a fund raising dinner with my beautiful wife tonight. What a great day.”
A neighbor told the Virginian Pilot that Snelling was a normal guy who “was always around. Go to work, come home, cuts his grass, just like anybody else.”
11 Other Victims Were Killed & Here are Their Names
All but one of the 12 victims were employees of the city of Virginia Beach.
Laquita C. Brown, Chesapeake
Mary Louise Gayle, Virginia Beach
Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Virginia Beach
Katherine A. Nixon, Virginia Beach
Richard H. Nettleton, Norfolk
Christopher Kelly Rapp, Powhatan
Ryan Keith Cox, Virginia Beach
Joshua O. Hardy, Virginia Beach
Michelle “Missy” Langer, Virginia Beach
Robert “Bobby” Williams, Chesapeake
Alexander Gusev, Virginia Beach