2019 Virginia Beach shooting
The 2019 Virginia Beach shooting occurred on the afternoon of May 31, 2019, when DeWayne Craddock, a disgruntled city employee fatally shot twelve people and wounded four others in a mass shooting at a municipal building in the Princess Anne area of Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States. He was shot dead by responding police officers.
|2019 Virginia Beach shooting|
|Location||Virginia Beach Municipal Center, Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States|
|Date||May 31, 2019 |
4:08 - 4:44 p.m. (EDT (UTC−4)
|Target||Government employees and contractor|
|Workplace shooting, mass murder|
|Deaths||13 (including the perpetrator)|
The perpetrator fatally shot a person in a car in the parking lot of Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center and one person on the steps before entering the building and shooting people on all three floors. The building housed the city's public works, utilities, and planning departments in an open-government facility with no additional security to enter but security passes required for accessing employee areas and conference rooms. He fired indiscriminately and there was no immediate indication that he had targeted anyone in particular. He was fatally shot during a prolonged gunfight with police who responded to the scene.
Some members of the public and employees were initially unaware of the shooter, and many were alerted by phone calls, text messages, or word of mouth to shelter in place or evacuate the location. The confusion was in part due to renovations that were underway at the time leading many to believe the shots were from a nail gun or another tool. An active shooter situation at the municipal center was confirmed by an email from the Communications Office at 4:22 pm and the city manager around 4:40 p.m.
Police response to the shooting was slowed down due to electronic security doors that require a badge to open. The FBI, the ATF, and the United States Department of Homeland Security responded to assist local and state police. Two semi-automatic pistols, a suppressor, and multiple extended magazines were found at the scene. The perpetrator had purchased the firearms legally within the last three years.
The shooter killed twelve people. Eleven were city employees and one was a contractor in the building to obtain a permit. The employees had a combined 150 years of service, one having worked there for 41 years. Six employees worked in the public utilities department, alongside their killer. Four other people were injured and hospitalized, with three in critical condition; in addition, a police officer was shot in his ballistic vest.
According to her family's attorney, one of the victims contemplated bringing a pistol with her to work the night prior to the shooting but did not do so due to a city policy forbidding it.
The perpetrator was identified by the police as 40-year-old DeWayne Antonio Craddock (born DeWayne Antonio Hamilton; October 15, 1978 – May 31, 2019) He worked as an engineer in the city's public utilities department until tendering his resignation in an email he sent to city management a few hours before the attack. Having resigned "within good standing in his department", Craddock still possessed a security pass to enter employee work spaces within the building at the time of the attack. In the days prior to the shooting, he was alleged to have been involved in physical scuffles with fellow city employees and threatened with disciplinary action. However, the city manager said that when Craddock resigned, he "had no issues of discipline ongoing".
Within the span of at least three years prior to the shooting, Craddock had legally acquired six firearms, five of which are chambered in .45 ACP. Two .45-caliber pistols (a Glock 21 and an H&K USP Compact Tactical equipped with a suppressor) were used in the shooting and three more weapons were found at his home, including one Bond Arms Backup Derringer in .45-caliber, one Just Right Carbine in .45-caliber, and another Glock 21 pistol in .45-caliber. The sixth weapon, an unidentified Ruger rifle the suspect purchased on April 12, is still being checked by authorities.
Craddock graduated in 1996 from Denbigh High School in Newport News. Between 1996 and 2002, he served in the Virginia Army National Guard in Norfolk as a cannon crew member with the First Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment. At the time of his discharge he held the rank of Specialist (E-4) and had not been deployed for combat service. In 2002, he graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in civil engineering.
Prior to the shooting, Craddock did not have a criminal record with the exception of minor traffic violations.
Multiple vigils were organized for the victims of the shooting by churches and other organizations. Members of the Courthouse Community United Methodist Church prepared food for police at the scene, after it was secured.
The day after the shooting, Virginia Beach police held a news conference which included a detailed presentation on the names, photos, and job titles of the twelve victims who were killed, including the towns in which they lived. They announced the perpetrator's name only once, vowing that it would be the only time they would ever do so.
On July 2, 2019, the Virginia Beach City Council voted to order an independent investigation of the circumstances that led to the mass shooting. The decision came after the families of some of the victims expressed dissatisfaction with the information released by the authorities.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam tweeted, "My heart breaks for the victims of this devastating shooting, their families, and all who loved them." Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said, "In recent years there have been mass shootings at American elementary schools, high schools, colleges, navy bases, government buildings, community centers, offices, concerts, movie theaters, nightclubs, churches, mosques, and synagogues. We have to do more to stop this kind of violence." Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said, "This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach." He tried to quell both sides of the gun control debate, asking all to avoid "knee jerk reaction" and "bipartisan bureaucratic malpractice."
Virginia's junior U.S. Senator, and former governor, Tim Kaine promised to "keep pushing for Congress to take action to prevent the daily scourge of gun violence in America." Virginia's senior U.S. Senator, Mark Warner, thanked police for their response. U.S. Representative Elaine Luria, who represents Virginia Beach, offered sympathies and thanked "first responders and law enforcement for risking their lives to bring a suspect into custody." She further said that the incident "is more proof Congress must act to prevent gun violence." U.S. President Donald Trump also offered condolences, as did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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