VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — A months-long independent probe into the Virginia Beach mass shooting has concluded, but it offers no clear answers as to why a city engineer killed 12 people in his workplace, according to findings released Wednesday.

The investigation, conducted by Chicago-based security company Hillard Heintze, found no warning signs by the shooter that could have helped the city prevent the May 31 tragedy.

The firm also said that the longtime city employee did not work in a systemically toxic workplace, which some people in this coastal city of nearly 500,000 had proposed as a possible factor.

What the investigation did reveal was a man who experienced the kind of pressures and life challenges that many people do.

DeWayne Craddock, 40, had gone through a divorce and was having trouble at work. He wrote emails on his work computer that went unsent but claimed he was unjustly disciplined.

But independent investigators were at a loss to explain how such “stressors” could have translated into violence.

“The information is just not there,” the independent security firm’s CEO, Arnette Heintze, told reporters after presenting a 262-page report to Virginia Beach’s City Council.

“What we can tell you is that in 2016 his life started changing,” Heintze said. “We can tell you that he started acquiring firearms … body armor and silencers. He starts visiting (newspaper websites that are reporting) on mass shootings.”

Craddock had worked in the city’s public utilities department. He used two semi-automatic handguns, a silencer and extended ammunition magazines to kill 11 of his co-workers and a contractor who had stopped at the city’s sprawling municipal complex to get a permit.

Craddock had submitted his resignation earlier in the day, citing “personal reasons.”

The independent probe’s report will likely do little for family members of the victims who have been grasping for answers and critical of the investigations.

A police investigation into the massacre is ongoing. An update in September from police investigators did not offer a clear motive, either.

Jason Nixon, whose wife Kate Nixon was killed by Craddock, said the independent investigation was a “dog and pony show” that “regurgitated” information provided by Virginia Beach police. He said no real independent digging was done.

“Family members are beyond upset,” he said.

Nixon said his wife wrote up Craddock for having a poor attitude. But he said such details were glossed over. Nixon said he plans to ask state police to conduct an investigation.

Meanwhile, the probe offered several recommendations to the city. They included suggestions that Virginia Beach improve its workplace violence prevention programs, human resources functions and mass-notification alerting systems.

The independent investigation, however, was also somewhat limited in scope. The security firm did not have access to Craddock’s personal computer, which Heintze attributed to an ongoing investigation by the FBI.

Dwight Brown, whose daughter LaQuita Brown was killed, said after Wednesday’s presentation that independent investigators failed to talk to him during their probe. Heintze responded that they had talked to at least some members of her family.

Heintze also underscored the challenge of trying to understand someone like Craddock.

Heintze described the shooter as “truly isolated and such a loner” that he didn’t have relationships with people “who could have provided some insight.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(6) comments

ace10

Murder is against the law. Violent criminals don't follow laws.

We don't know why he did it but we do know why it happened. Deadly weapons are just too easy to get and use. Lawmakers can't seem to even muster the courage to tell people they're not allowed to fire high-power rifles in residential areas. Hope to see the new majorities in Richmond step up to do even a few common sense things about this social problem.

marv

There is NO law - NONE - that will keep / prevent a criminal from obtaining a firearm just as nothing prevents idiots from using narcotics. The increased severity of restrictions will only affect the law abiding.

Well, let's put a few laws in place and then see if your argument holds any water. It seems like a silly reason to say there shouldn't be regulations.

AFF

"There is no law-NONE- that will keep/ prevent a mentally ill person from obtaining a firearm".

"There is no law -NONE- that will keep/ prevent a terrorist from obtaining a firearm".

I fixed it for you Marv. Try and aim a little higher next time. Our community has standards. Don't throw in the towel so easily. A village depends on the strength and resolve of its' residents to collectively resist such obvious threats.

But if you really want to cower in the corner when faced with terrorists and the mentally ill don't worry- we're on it!

Signed, not a wimp

Matthew

The state of California and the City of Chicago have, by far, the strictest gun laws in the entire nation. How is that working for them? Ban guns completely and you have London with an epidemic of knife attacks. We need to address the mental illness crises in this country, but that is something none of our politicians want to address because they both use the issue for their reelection campaigns.

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