Virginia Beach Shooting Leaves 12 Dead, Four Injured


City of Virginia Beach. A collage of the shooting’s 12 victims.

Sarah Bryden, Business Manager

The email came early on Friday, May 31st: DeWayne Craddock, a 15-year employee of the City of Virginia Beach, intended to resign from his engineering position. The gunshots came later. When they stopped, 12 people lay dead and several more were injured in the worst mass shooting of 2019.

As employees prepared to leave for the weekend, 40 year old military veteran Craddock made his way through the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, a campus of about 30 brick buildings. Armed with two .45-caliber handguns equipped with sound suppressors and extended magazines, he entered Building No. 2 and transformed its hallways and offices into a battleground.

The shots began at approximately 4:00 p.m. 35 minutes later, 11 city employees lay dead: LaQuita Brown; Ryan Keith Cox; Tara Welch Gallagher; Mary Louise Gayle; Alexander Mikhail Gusev; Joshua O. Hardy; Michelle Langer, known as Missy; Richard H. Nettleton; Katherine A. Nixon; Christopher Kelly Rapp; and Robert Williams. In addition, Herbert Snelling, a contractor, was killed during the attacks, and four more employees were injured.

Craddock was ultimately killed in a shootout with police, and his motives for attack remain unclear. The FBI is currently conducting an investigation in order to determine the motives for the tragic attack.

In the wake of the shooting, the Virginia Beach community mourns in solidarity. Memorial services for the 12 victims began on Thursday, June 6th and are scheduled to continue through Sunday, June 8. While the Municipal Center has reopened, Building No. 2 will remain closed indefinitely.

The addition of the tragedy in Virginia Beach to the long list of mass shootings over the past couple of years has touched communities across the nation, including in Hingham. Freshman Emily Conroy lamented that “it’s sad that people can’t go do their normal, daily actions without fearing a mass killing.” She adds, “gun laws need to change… the US has had so many shootings in the past decade, and something has to be done.”

AP/Patrick Semansky.
Caution tape surrounding Building No. 2, where the shooting took place.

On a similar note, freshman Emma Peterson called the attack “an ominous event” and explained that it “should lead to much harsher regulations and even bans.”

Irrespective of the contentious nature of gun-law debates, it is impossible to deny the tragedy of the Virginia Beach shooting. Americans across the nation join Virginia Beach in mourning and remember the twelve lives lost on May 31.