Virginia Beach shooting
|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|
|Weapons||Two .45 ACP pistols (one with a suppressor)|
|Deaths||13 (including the perpetrator)|
The Virginia Beach shooting occurred on the afternoon of May 31, 2019, when 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 later shot dead by police officers responding to the scene.
The perpetrator fatally shot a person in a car in the parking lot of Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center 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 law enforcement personnel 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 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 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.
Eyewitnesses said that the perpetrator seemed completely normal in the hours leading up to the shooting. One eyewitness said that they saw the perpetrator brushing his teeth in the bathroom as he always did and did not seem agitated, while another eyewitness said that the perpetrator wished him a "good day" mere moments before the shooting.
Twelve people were fatally shot by the perpetrator. Eleven were city employees and one was a contractor who was in the building to obtain a permit. The employees had a combined 150 years of service to the city, with one of them having served the city for 41 years. Six of the employees worked in the city's public utilities department, which is the same department in which the suspect worked.
Six victims were taken to local hospitals for injuries sustained during the shooting. Sentara Healthcare reported that five of the victims were taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and a sixth to Sentara Princess Anne Hospital. One of the injured victims was a law enforcement officer who sustained wounds while exchanging fire with Craddock. 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 decided not to due to a city policy that prevents employees from bringing weapons to work.
DeWayne Antonio Craddock (October 15, 1978 – May 31, 2019), a 40-year-old man, was identified by police as the perpetrator. 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 multiple firearms. Two .45 ACP pistols were used in the shooting and two more weapons were found at his home, one of which was another pistol of the .45 ACP caliber. The fourth weapon 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 joining the City of Virginia Beach, he worked as a project engineer for MSA P.C., a consulting firm.
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 the law enforcement officers at the scene, after it was secured.
The day after the shooting, Virginia Beach authorities 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.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam issued a statement on Twitter saying, "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, colleges, government buildings, offices, concerts, movie theaters, nightclubs, even 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." Dyer has also attempted to quell both sides of the gun control debate stating he wanted to avoid the "knee jerk reaction" and "bipartisan bureaucratic malpractice."
Virginia's U.S. Senator, Tim Kaine, promised to "keep pushing for Congress to take action to prevent the daily scourge of gun violence in America." Virginia's other U.S. Senator, Mark Warner, thanked law enforcement 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.
On June 1, 2019, Craddock's family issued a statement by posting a handwritten sign on the front door of a family member's home. The sign said that the family "wishes to send our heart felt condolences to the victims".
- List of mass shootings in the United States in 2019
- List of rampage killers (workplace killings)
- Washington Navy Yard shooting (2013)
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