2019 Virginia Beach shooting

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2019 Virginia Beach shooting
Part of mass shootings in the United States
No image.svg
LocationVirginia Beach, Virginia, U.S.
Coordinates36°45′03″N 76°03′27″W / 36.7509°N 76.0575°W / 36.7509; -76.0575Coordinates: 36°45′03″N 76°03′27″W / 36.7509°N 76.0575°W / 36.7509; -76.0575
DateMay 31, 2019 (2019-05-31)
4:08 – 4:44 p.m.[1] (EDT (UTC−4)
TargetGovernment employees and contractor
Attack type
Workplace shooting, mass shooting
Deaths13 (including the perpetrator)
PerpetratorDeWayne Craddock

On May 31, 2019, a mass shooting occurred at a municipal building in the Princess Anne area of Virginia Beach, Virginia. The gunman, DeWayne Craddock, who was a disgruntled city employee, fatally shot 12 people and wounded four others. He was then shot dead by responding police officers.


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.[3] 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.[3][4] He fired indiscriminately[5][6] and there was no immediate indication that he had targeted anyone in particular.[7] He was fatally shot during a prolonged gunfight with police who responded to the scene.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

Police response to the shooting was slowed down due to electronic security doors that require a badge to open.[11] The FBI, the ATF, and the United States Department of Homeland Security responded to assist local and state police.[12][13] Two semi-automatic pistols, a suppressor, and multiple extended magazines were found at the scene.[14] The perpetrator had purchased the firearms legally within the last three years.[14][15]


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.[16] Four other people were injured and hospitalized, with three in critical condition; in addition, a police officer was shot in his ballistic vest.[17]

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.[18]


The perpetrator was identified by the police as 40-year-old DeWayne Antonio Craddock (born DeWayne Antonio Hamilton;[19] October 15, 1978 – May 31, 2019).[20][3] 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.[21] 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.[22][23] 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.[24] However, the city manager said that when Craddock resigned, he "had no issues of discipline ongoing".

H&K USP Compact Tactical

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 was an unidentified Ruger rifle the suspect purchased on April 12.[25]

Craddock graduated in 1996 from Denbigh High School in Newport News.[3] 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.[26] In 2002, he graduated from Old Dominion University with a degree in civil engineering.[27]

Prior to the shooting, Craddock did not have a criminal record with the exception of minor traffic violations.[24]


Multiple vigils were organized for the victims of the shooting by churches and other organizations.[28] Members of the Courthouse Community United Methodist Church prepared food for police at the scene, after it was secured.[7]

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.[29] They announced the perpetrator's name only once, vowing that it would be the only time they would ever do so.[29]

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.[30]


Virginia Governor Ralph Northam tweeted, "My heart breaks for the victims of this devastating shooting, their families, and all who loved them."[31] Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said, "In recent years there have been mass shootings at American elementary schools, colleges, government buildings, offices, concerts, movie theaters, nightclubs and even places of worship, like churches, mosques, and synagogues. We have to do more to stop this kind of violence."[32] Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said, "This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach."[33] He tried to quell both sides of the gun control debate, asking all to avoid "knee jerk reaction" and "bipartisan bureaucratic malpractice."[23]

Virginia's junior U.S. Senator, Tim Kaine, promised to "keep pushing for Congress to take action to prevent the daily scourge of gun violence in America."[32] Virginia's senior U.S. Senator, Mark Warner, thanked police for their response.[34] 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."[35] U.S. President Donald Trump also offered condolences,[36] as did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Coutu, Peter. "Gunman emailed resignation hours before killing 12 people in Virginia Beach's deadliest shooting". Virginian-Pilot.
  2. ^ "An Independent Review of the Tragic Events of May 31, 2019" (PDF). www.vbgov.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 19, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d Garrisson, Joey (June 1, 2019). "What we know about the suspect in the Virginia Beach shooting that killed 12". USA TODAY. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  4. ^ Finley, Ben. "'Today is Virginia Beach's darkest hour:' 12 killed in shooting at municipal complex; assailant dead". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  5. ^ Almasy, Steve; Rebekah Riess (May 31, 2019). "At least 12 dead in Virginia Beach mass shooting at municipal center". CNN. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  6. ^ Staff, National Desk (June 1, 2019). "'We kept hearing gunshots': At least 11 dead, 6 injured after Virginia Beach shooting". KCCI. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  7. ^ a b c Blinder, Alan; Thrush, Glenn (June 1, 2019). "Virginia Beach Shooting: 12 Victims Identified in Government Office Attack". The New York Times. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  8. ^ Nicole Chavez; Amir Vera. "Witnesses hid in offices and under their desks during the Virginia Beach shooting". CBS46 News Atlanta. CNN. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  9. ^ Allyn, Bobby (June 2, 2019). "Virginia Beach Shooting Survivor Says Victim Laid Down His Life To Save Colleagues". NPR.org. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  10. ^ "Virginia Beach shooting: 12 killed, 6 injured; suspect also dead". WAVY.com. May 31, 2019. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  11. ^ Lavoie, Ben Finley and Denise. "Locked electronic doors slowed police response in Virginia Beach mass shooting". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  12. ^ Romero, Dennis. "At least 12 dead, including suspect, in Virginia Beach shooting". NBC News. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  13. ^ National, Scripps. "12 dead in mass shooting in Virginia Beach Municipal Building". ABC 15. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  14. ^ a b "12 victims, shooter killed in Virginia Beach mass shooting". WTKR.com. May 31, 2019. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  15. ^ Alltucker, Kenneth; Stanglin, Doug; Quintana, Chris (June 2, 2019). "Virginia Beach mass shooting that killed 12 puzzles law enforcement; 4 critical at hospitals". USA TODAY. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  16. ^ Finley, Ben; Lavoie, Denise (June 1, 2019). "Virginia victims had 150 years of combined service with city". Associated Press.
  17. ^ a b Burke, Minyvonne (June 1, 2019). "Four in hospital, three critical after 12 killed in Virginia Beach shooting". NBC News. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  18. ^ Hafner, Katherine. "Virginia Beach shooting victim considered taking gun to work over concerns about colleague, lawyer says". Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved June 13, 2019.
  19. ^ Skelton, Peter Coutu, Alissa. "Virginia Beach killer matched the cliche: quiet, polite, unassuming". pilotonline.com. Retrieved December 2, 2019.
  20. ^ "Who Is DeWayne Craddock? Virginia Beach Mass Shooter Identified As Disgruntled Employee". NewsOne. June 1, 2019.
  21. ^ Holcombe, Madeline (June 2, 2019). "New details emerge in the Virginia Beach mass shooting that left 12 people dead". Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  22. ^ Holcombe, Madeline (June 1, 2019). "All but one of the 12 killed in the Virginia Beach shooting were city employees, official says". CNN. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  23. ^ a b Madeline Holcombe and Mark Morales. "More questions than answers as Virginia Beach grieves after mass shooting". CNN. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  24. ^ a b Kovaleski, Serge F. (June 1, 2019). "Suspect in Virginia Beach Shooting Was a Longtime City Employee". The New York Times.
  25. ^ Dorn, Sara; Italiano, Laura (June 1, 2019). "New details emerge about alleged Virginia Beach shooter DeWayne Craddock".
  26. ^ McNamara, Audrey (June 1, 2019). "Accused Virginia Beach Shooter Wished Co-Worker a 'Good Day' Before the Rampage". Daily Beast.
  27. ^ Miller, Michael E.; Bui, Lynh; Zauzmer, Julie (June 1, 2019). "DeWayne Craddock, a longtime Virginia Beach employee, identified as shooter who killed 12 in city building". The Washington Post.
  28. ^ "Vigils being held after Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting | WAVY.com". Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  29. ^ a b "Virginia Beach shines light on victims, not mass shooter". Associated Press. June 2, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  30. ^ "Virginia Beach City Council votes in favor of independent external investigation". WTKR. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  31. ^ Mele, Christopher (May 31, 2019). "Virginia Beach Shooting: 12 Killed in Rampage at Municipal Center". The New York Times. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  32. ^ a b "'Unspeakable, senseless violence': 12 killed, suspect dead in Va. Beach shooting". WCSC, Live 5 News. May 31, 2019. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  33. ^ Romero, Dennis (May 31, 2019). "At least 12 dead, including suspect, in Virginia Beach shooting". NBC News. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  34. ^ Gregory, Sara; Mike Connors (May 31, 2019). "Reaction to the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center". The Virginian-Pilot. Retrieved May 31, 2019.
  35. ^ Axelrod, Tal (May 31, 2019). "Virginia lawmakers respond to shooting: 'My heart breaks for ... our entire commonwealth'". The Hill. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  36. ^ Frazin, Rachel (June 1, 2019). "Trump offers condolences after Virginia Beach shooting". TheHill. Retrieved June 2, 2019.

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