It took Virginia Beach police only two minutes to arrive at the scene of the mass shooting at municipal building number 2, authorities revealed in a press conference on June 2, in which they released a timeline of the tragedy.
It took 36 minutes from the “time of dispatch to time of suspect in custody,” said the police chief. The suspect was DeWayne Craddock, a city engineer and former Virginia National Guard member who had just handed in his two-weeks’ notice that very morning. The email Craddock sent resigning was innocuous; The email Craddock sent to resign was innocuous; this is what he wrote: “I want to officially put in my (2) weeks’ notice to vacant (sic) my position of Engineer III with the City of Virginia Beach. It has been a pleasure to serve the City, but due to personal reasons I must relieve my position.”
That was 36 minutes of horror, injury, and death, as captured by the police scanner dispatches of that day. You can listen to them below but be aware that they are graphic and disturbing.
Authorities stay they still aren’t certain why Craddock did it, but, by the time it was all over, he was dead (shot by police), and 12 people had lost their lives, 11 of them city workers and one a man who just decided to get a permit.
“One of the pieces of the investigation will include the motive of this horrific act,” said Police Chief James Cervera. As for the killer’s employment status, Cervera said: “We will look at that to see if it had anything to do with the horrific act that was perpetrated.”
You can read about the victims here; the shooting unfolded at the Virginia Beach municipal center’s building 2, in secure work areas that you needed to access via an employee pass.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police & the City Manager Say DeWayne Craddock Gave His Resignation Notice
The police chief says the motive was not clear, but he ruled out one widely reported claim: That Craddock was fired.
He stressed: “He (Craddock) was not terminated and he was not in the process of being terminated, so hopefully we will put that piece to rest.”
The chief said that officers, fire officials, and EMS were dispatched at 4:08 p.m. to reports of shots being fired in building 2. The first officers arrived in two minutes. He described the building as “four floors, basement and three stories, numerous exits and entrances. Citizens can’t enter certain areas, numerous stairwells. We had no idea where the suspect was, no idea of the extent of what the shots being fired call really included.”
The chief explained that the building was originally constructed in the early 1970s when the city had a much smaller workforce. “Since that time, construction has gone on for decades. It’s a honeycomb, it’s a maze, where the workers are.”
Asked if Craddock, 40, had put in two-weeks notice, Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen responded, “Yes.” Asked if Craddock was resigning, Hansen also responded, “Yes.”
A journalist asked Hansen if Craddock’s direct supervisor was one of the people who died in the rampage, but he responded, “He was not his immediate supervisor, but he was in the chain of command.” He did not release that victim’s name. A reporter asked Hansen if Craddock gave a reason for resigning or wrote a letter, and Hansen replied,
“We are determining where that letter is. He notified his chain of command that morning. My understanding is he did that via email.”
He was not forced to resign? “Negative.” Was it over a situation he was applying for and did not get? “Not to my knowledge,” said the city manager.
Craddock’s Job Performance Was Considered ‘Satisfactory,’ Officials Say
However, in their June 2, 2019 news conference, Virginia Beach officials continued to insist that they hadn’t found any evidence of problems in his job performance.
The chief said they would not release information about anything found in Craddock’s home; photos taken at the scene show that Craddock had cameras positioned in his condo’s windows.
Hansen said officials are conducting a “thorough review of the (employment) status of the perpetrator. His performance was satisfactory. He was in good standing in his department; there were no issues of discipline ongoing.” Asked if there had been concerns or complaints, he said, “We are not sensing that… and I have no evidence that is the case.” But he said they were still looking into it, and the chief said investigators are piecing together all of Craddock’s movements that day. Officials described it as a “normal work day.”
“We’re looking as deep as we can into motives from work, personal motives, professional motives that could have happened… right now we don’t have anything glaring. There’s nothing that hits you right between the eyes,” said the police chief.
For 5 to 8 minutes after the officers began to enter the building, they made contact and engaged with the suspect on the second floor of the building, said Cervera. Other officers had responded by this time and were searching the building. Some of those who responded were detectives and some were K-9 officers.
Officers found the suspect on the second floor and “immediately engaged on a gun battle,” said the police chief. “I can’t tell you how many minutes shots have been fired. In the police world, anything more than 3 to 5 shots was a long gun battle. That’s what was happening.”
He said the “perpetrator fired well into the double digits of rounds. As he was firing, he was moving. Doors were closed and were locked. Individuals were sheltering in place. We now need to train across America on active shooter cases.”
The suspect was shooting through the door and wall at officers. And then the firing stopped. He was in another office. They needed to enter that office. They had to figure out a way to breach the door in a tactically safe and sound way, said the chief.
By that time, the suspect had already shot an officer, who was shot at 4:19 “during the exchange of gunfire,” said Cervera. That officer was saved by his bullet proof vest.
The suspect was taken into custody and first aid was immediately rendered to him. Reports later said police shot the suspect; he died at the hospital.
The total time of arrival to contact with the gunman was 5 to 8 minutes, said the chief. The total time “it took to take the individual into custody, render first aid and get him out of the building” was 36 minutes. It took 25 minutes for the first medical transport, and within an hour, the last injured individual was transported to the hospital.