Ryan Keith Cox was one of the 12 Virginia Beach mass shooting victims, and his coworkers said he died a hero saving seven lives.
Bobbie Stockton told Heavy her sister would not be alive if not for Cox. Read more about his heroism and her account here.
Cox was the son of a local pastor, Dr. E. Ray Cox Sr. of New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach.
Keith Cox sang in his father’s church choir, where he was known as “the golden voice.”
“My heart is hurting because my baby brother was murdered today by the shooter in Virginia Beach mass shooting,” his brother, Ervin Ray Cox Jr., wrote on Facebook. “I won’t hears (sic) his beautiful singing voice at church or home anymore. I loved my brother and will truly miss his caring soul. Until we meet again in heaven.”
Cox worked as an account clerk with Virginia Beach Public Utilities for 12 years, according to a morning press conference.
His coworkers will remember him as “a gentleman.”
He went by his middle name, Keith, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Here’s what you need to know:
Cox Made ‘The Ultimate Sacrifice,’ Survivors Said
As a suspect began “firing indiscriminately” in an office building, Cox took seven women to safety and told them to hide and keep quiet. He started to leave to find more and they begged him to stay.
He said, ‘You’re safe now. You stay,’ and then went to get others,” Stockton said. “To me, that’s a hero.”
He died trying to save more people and take them to safety. Stockton said she told Cox’s family on Facebook she wants Cox to have recognition for his heroic efforts.
I know there are more heroes to this story, but the ones that don’t get acknowledged are the quiet ones. I just want to make sure this man gets the acknowledgement he deserves,” she said.
Read more about Cox’s heroism and the people he saved here.
Cox was the Son of a Local Baptist Minister
Cox’s father, Dr. E. Ray Cox Sr., is the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, according to the church website.
Ryan Cox sang for the church, according to the Washington Post.
The church grew from 35 to 500 because of its pastor’s “servant style of leadership.” The pastor’s biography lists six grandchildren, though it was not immediately clear which, if any, were Ray Cox’s children.
Ray Cox had a brother, Ervin Cox Jr. The family lives in Virginia Beach.
Vanessa Copeland, pastor of Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church in Norfolk, wrote on Facebook, “Our hearts are saddened at the loss of Ryan Cox, the youngest son of The Rev. Dr. E. Ray Cox, Sr. & Mrs. Cox. We are in prayer for this family that God will give them comfort and strength. We also pray for the New Hope Family in this great loss and the families touched by this tragedy.”
On Friday, she wrote, “Today, in the City of Virginia Beach, news of a tragic occurrence at the Municipal Center leaving 11 dead and 6 injured was received. Our hearts are heavy as we pray for the families of those who were killed and injured. We also pray for all the employees who were affected emotionally by this traumatic act of violence, that God will calm their internal storm and bring peace. We also pray for the family of the shooter. May God bless us all with the strength & courage to endure!”
He was an Account Clerk for Public Utilities
Cox worked as an account clerk for Virginia Beach Public Utilities for 12 years, officials said.
Cox first worked for the city of Virginia Beach as a customer service provider in the call center, according to The Virginian-Pilot. Following that position, he worked in accounting for about five years.
He attended Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach. He graduated from Saint Leo University with a degree in with a degree in business administration in 1991, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The university, located in St. Leo, Florida, is a Roman Catholic liberal arts school. In 1991, it was known as Saint Leo College.
All but one of the 12 victims killed at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center were city employees. One victim was a contractor who was in Building 2 to secure a permit.
“This morning I have the responsibility to inform friends, coworkers and the public of those who lost their lives yesterday,” said City Manager David Hansen. “All but one of the 12 victims were employees of the city of Virginia Beach. I have worked with most of them for many years.”
He was ‘a Gentleman’ to His Coworkers
Cox was always a gentleman to his coworkers, former colleague Michele Butler told The Virginian-Pilot.
“He was a really sweet guy. Always opening the doors for us ladies,” said Butler. “He was a gentleman and would do anything for you. He will be missed just as the other victims.”
Butler worked with Cox for about 10 years until her retirement about 1 1/2 years ago. She said he was outgoing and always smiling.
Former colleague Holly Elliot only worked with Cox briefly, nearly 20 years ago. But she still remembers his kindness and helpful nature.
“I sat just a few desks away from him,” Elliott told The Virginian-Pilot. “I haven’t seen him since I left there but I remember him as a kind, soft spoken man who was very helpful to me during my short time there. That entire department of people were a great group of folks to work with. My heart breaks for them, the other departments and our entire city.”
His Brother Said He Will Miss His ‘Beautiful Singing’
He was known as “the golden voice” at New Hope Baptist Church, where his father also preached, according to The Washington Post
Cox loved to sing and had a beautiful voice, according to his brother, Ervin Cox Jr. He sang at church and at home.
11 Other Victims Were Killed. Here are Their Names
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
Herbert “Bert” Snelling, Virginia Beach