Authorities continue their investigation into the Virginia Beach massacre at the city’s municipal center Friday, while family and loved ones grieve the loss of 11 Virginia Beach government employees, one contractor and four other individuals recover from injuries.
Police chief, James A. Cervera, said in a news conference the suspect in the attack has been identified as DeWayne Craddock, a certified professional engineer for the city with a 15-year tenure working in the city’s water and sanitary sewers branch. Cervera stated the four officers who responded to the scene engaged Craddock in a “long gunbattle.” “He suffered injuries during a gunfight with officers and died shortly afterward,” Cervera said.
Police have not yet determined a motive for the shooting, although previous reports described Craddock as a”disgruntled employee” who had been recently terminated. City Manager David L. Hansen said Craddock was still employed by the city at the time of the “senseless and incomprehensible” shooting and that he was “authorized to enter the building.”
Craddock’s background doesn’t show any previous criminal offenses or run-ins with law enforcement at all. The Associated Press reports, he joined the Army National Guard following high school graduation from Denbigh High School and received basic military training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Craddock also graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.
According to USA Today, police say Craddock used a .45 caliber handgun with a silencer to kill the first victim as they sat in a car in the parking lot. He then entered the building, killing people on each of the three main floors.
Cervera said police found additional weapons at the scene and at the suspect’s home but did not specify which types.
Authorities have identified and released the names of all 12 victims: Laquita C. Brown, Tara Welch Gallagher, Mary Louise Gayle, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Katherine A. Nixon, Richard H. Nettleton, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Ryan Keith Cox, Joshua A. Hardy, Michelle “Missy” Langer, Robert Williams and Herbert Snelling.
The attack ranks among the deadliest workplace shootings in the United States in recent years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 458 work-related homicides in 2017.
Many prayers to the families of the victims and the city of Virginia Beach 🙏🏾