Virginia Beach Victims

Top row from left are Laquita C. Brown, Ryan Keith Cox, Tara Welch Gallagher and Mary Louise Gayle. Middle row from left are Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Joshua O. Hardy, Michelle "Missy" Langer and Richard H. Nettleton. Bottom row from left are Katherine A. Nixon, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Herbert "Bert" Snelling and Robert "Bobby" Williams.

Four were engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands. Three were right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines. The others included an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant and a special projects coordinator. In all, they had served the city of Virginia Beach for more than 150 years.

These 11 city employees and one contractor were wiped out Friday when a fellow city worker opened fire inside a municipal building. A day after the shooting, city officials sought to honor them by sharing their job titles and years of service in a somber slideshow.

“They leave a void that we will never be able to fill,” said City Manager Dave Hansen, who had worked for years with many of the dead.

Police Chief James Cervera identified the assailant as DeWayne Craddock, who had been employed for 15 years as an engineer with the city’s utilities department. He declined to comment on a motive for the rampage, which ended with the shooter’s death in a gun battle with officers. City officials uttered his name just once and said they would not mention it again.

Joseph Scott, an engineering technician with the utilities department, said he had worked with Craddock and had a brief interaction with him Friday, passing him in the men’s restroom about five minutes before the shooting.

“He was in there brushing his teeth, which he always did after he ate,” Scott said. “I said ‘Hey, how you doing? What are you doing this weekend?’ It was just a brief conversation.”

Scott said he left for the day right after and learned of the shooting when a co-worker and then his son called him asking if he was OK.

“I couldn’t believe that it happened,” he said.

One of the dead employees had worked for the city for 41 years. Six worked in the same department as the suspect, though authorities have declined to say if anyone was specifically targeted or if the suspect had issued threats before. The victims were found throughout the building, on three floors, police said.

The municipal building was open to the public, but security passes were required to enter inner offices, conference rooms and other work areas. As a current employee, Craddock would have had the pass to enter the inner offices, Hansen said.

In response to a reporter’s question, Cervera said the gunman had not been fired.

One of the dead, Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan, enjoyed Scottish music and joined a pipe band last fall. He played with the group in October during a Celtic festival in Virginia and marched with bandmates on St. Patrick’s Day.

“Chris was reserved but very friendly, quietly engaging members one-on-one after our weekly practices,” the band, Tidewater Pipes & Drums, said in a statement.

Another victim, Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach, was described as a “super sweet lady” who always had a big smile. “She would always be out there in the yard, working on something and talking to my daughters,” John Cushman, Gayle’s next-door neighbor, told The New York Times.

The other employees who were killed were identified as Tara Welch Gallagher, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Katherine A. Nixon, Ryan Keith Cox, Joshua O. Hardy and Michelle “Missy” Langer, all of Virginia Beach; Laquita C. Brown and Robert “Bobby” Williams, both of Chesapeake; and Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk. The 12th victim, Herbert “Bert” Snelling of Virginia Beach, was a contractor who was in the building to seek a permit.

The police and fire departments were to assign members of their honor guards to help each victim’s family.

Authorities have said the shooter fired indiscriminately. At least three other people who were wounded remained hospitalized Saturday.

Craddock appeared to have had no felony record, making him eligible to purchase guns.

Government investigators identified two .45-caliber pistols used in the attack, said Ashan Benedict, the regional special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

All indications were that the shooter purchased the weapons legally, one in 2016 and one in 2018, Benedict said. The police chief said at least one had a noise suppressor.

Craddock, 40, graduated from Denbigh High School in nearby Newport News in 1996 and joined the Army National Guard, according to a newspaper clip from the time. He received basic military training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He later graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Scott said he worked in a different division from Craddock, whom he described as quiet, polite and a “nice guy.” Scott said he thought Craddock was in good standing at work and had never heard negative reports about him.

A handwritten note was posted Saturday at the suspect’s home expressing condolences to the shooting victims on behalf of his family.

Hundreds of people attended Saturday prayer vigils for the dead. Scott said he, his wife and several others prayed for the shooter too.

“He was a human too, and his family is hurting too,” Scott said. “He’s not evil ... he was just another guy who had problems.”

Neighbors described Craddock as a car enthusiast and bodybuilder.

Amanda Archer, 22, and Cassetty Howerin, 23, lived in a Virginia Beach townhome beneath Craddock for the past year and only got to know him in passing, exchanging the occasional greeting.

“He wasn’t much of a talker,” Archer recalled. “He’s a mystery to us. He’s a mystery to everybody, apparently.”

___

Associated Press writers Regina Garcia Cano, Michael Biesecker, Michael Balsamo and Eric Tucker in Washington, D.C.; Michael Kunzelman in Virginia Beach; and Jonathan Drew in Durham, North Carolina, contributed to this report.

(11) comments

Chris McHale

I don't have an issue with LTM posting the names of those arrest but it does appear to be selective. This weekend 9 people were arrest bu LCSO for alcohol related issues. No names/stories have been posted.

Plus LTM either did not have the names of the mother and student who filed a false claim against a teacher but they should have posted thier names if they could get them.

amerigirl

I doubt that LCPS could give out a students name, and to protect the student sometimes the parents name is not given if it is similar.

EdMyers

The style is to publicly shame people accused of certain crimes as a deterrent while not making mass murderers notorious for the same reason. The theory is that mass murderers crave attention and publishing the pictures of victims instead of the criminal will deter others from copycatting. I suspect those who want the perps picture published have a racist agenda to satisfy.

WesternSky

No racist view on this end -- rather just against local papers with a poor record of depth laying down a scarlet letter in the form of a photo in the paper where there should still be a presumption of innocence.

amerigirl

Isn't that just your interpretation of the articles? They just lay out the facts, they don't take sides, and they use the information available to them. That just reporting.

Jeanne T

"I suspect those who want the perps picture published have a racist agenda to satisfy." So if the shooter had been of another ethnicity (the correct term; there is only one "race", the human race) and his/her picture was published, would that also be "racist"?

marv

DO NOT GIVE THE PERPETRATOR ANY PUBLICITY!!!!

WesternSky

Why no photo of the murderer? Get a DWI -- you slap a photo of an still innocent local citizen up right away.

What are you hiding?

wwwebbs

Why would you want to make the murderer famous? I think media is finally getting the picture and not sensationalizing the murderer. They are seeking notoriety...don't give it to them.

amerigirl

I second that!

workhardgetahead

Go to the Virginia Pilot,

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