Tara Welch Gallagher, one of the victims killed during a mass shooting at Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, was an engineer who worked in the Public Works department. She lived in Virginia Beach and was 39.
City employees were minutes from the end of their work week when a longtime public utility employee began to “indiscriminately fire” at victims on multiple floors of the building at about 4:15 p.m., said Virginia Beach Police Chief James A. Cervera.
“There’s no way to describe an incident such as this. No chief of police anywhere in the country, no mayor, no city manager, no assistant city manager, no fire chief no rescue chief ever wants to have stand up and give information such as this,” Cervera said. “I think at this particular point, I want to give the utmost respect to the victims and to their families because they are going to be forever changed based on this particular incident.”
All but one of those slain were, like Tara Gallagher, city workers (the 12th victim was at the municipal center to get a permit).
“We want you to know who they were so in the days and weeks to come you will learn what they meant to all of us, to their families, to their friends and to their coworkers. They leave a void that we will never be able to fill,” said Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen.
“16 hours ago the lives of 12 people were cut short by a senseless and incomprehensible act of violence,” said Hansen. “Overnight our chaplains, our human services, and our family assistance staff and teams completed the most difficult task anyone will ever have to do, and that is notifying the next of kin. So today, we all grieve.”
“This morning I have the responsibility to inform friends, coworkers and the public of those who lost their lives yestterday. All but one of the 12 victims were employees of the city of Virginia Beach,” he said. “I have worked with most of them for many years.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Tara Welch Gallagher Educated the Public About Clean Water
Gallagher was listed in multiple reports and documents where she described reports on clean water.
She served as the public face for public works for the Lake James Watershed.
She compiled a Water Quality Report on the watershed in 2018, which the city’s website described as “an important step” in improving water quality.
“This monitoring evaluation was an important step in the process to improve the water quality of Lake James and its surrounding watershed by helping to better understand the sources and concentrations of stormwater nutrients entering the lake, as well as within the adjacent Cedar Hill Canal,” the website said. “This in turn will inform and help develop public and private strategies to manage local water quality, including the placement of projects to generate the most impact.”
Tara Gallagher Celebrated Her Sixth Year With Public Works in March & Was an Old Dominion University Alum
A 2018 Virginia Beach newsletter announced Tara Gallagher’s five-year anniversary with the city of Virginia Beach. She was granted a public service award for her five years of service to her community, where she also lived.
According to Old Dominion University, she was a graduate of the Virginia college, completing her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2002 and her master’s in engineering in 2003. She was a former civil engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and worked as a project civil manager at Clark Nexsen, Pc.
She was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Portsmouth, Virginia.
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 A. Hardy, Virginia Beach
Michelle “Missy” Langer, Virginia Beach
Robert “Bobby” Williams, Chesapeake
Herbert “Bert” Snelling, Virginia Beach