Virginia Beach officials identified the twelve victims and the suspect in the horrific mass shooting in the municipal building on Friday afternoon.
Four others were injured—three remain in critical conditions a Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.
During a press conference on Saturday, Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen, said, “Today, we all grieve. This morning, I have the responsibility to inform friends, coworkers, and the public of those who lost their lives yesterday. We want you to know who they were, so in the days and weeks to come, you will learn what they meant to all of us, to their families, to their friends, and to their coworkers. They leave a void that we will never be able to fill.”
The victims were Laquita Brown, Mary Louise Gayle, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Katherine Nixon, Richard Nettleton, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Ryan Keith Cox, Joshua Hardy, Michelle “Missy” Langer, Robert “Bobby” Williams and Herbert “Bert” Snelling.
Eleven of the 12 victims were city employees who served in the public works department. Snelling was a contractor trying to fill-up a permit. He is a resident of Virginia Beach.
Suspect died after a long gun battle with police officers
The city’s police Chief James Cervera identified the shooter as DeWayne Craddock, an engineer with the city’s public utilities department for 15 years.
Cervera told the media that he will only utter Craddock’s name once and will refer to him as “the suspect” during the entire press conference. His intention was to prevent publicity for the shooter. He said the suspect died after a long gunfight with police officers.
Investigators haven’t determined the suspect’s motive for committing the horrendous crime. They described him as a “disgruntled employee.”
“Right now, we have a lot of questions. The whys, they will come later. Right now, we have more questions than we have answers,” according to Cervera.
Authorities recovered two weapons at the scene, a rifle and a .45 caliber handgun with extended magazines and a suppressor.
Gov. Northam visited injured victims at the hospital
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam visited the wounded victims at the Sentara Virginia Beach Hospital on Saturday.
During an interview with CNN, Northam said, “They are doing well, you know, they are strong people and have a tremendous faith in God. So, they are coming along nicely and we just offer our thoughts, our prayers [and] support for these families.”
Northam has been pushing for stricter gun control legislation to prevent violence. However, he and his fellow Democrats were unable to convince the Republicans in the legislature to support their proposal including implementing universal background checks, a ban on assault weapons and an “extreme risk protective order” to temporarily prohibit individuals from accessing firearms if a court determines that they pose “substantial danger to themselves or others.”
Republicans in the Virginia General Assembly and Senate rejected some of the proposed gun control measures and blocked the others from moving forward. They believe that the bills violate Virginian’s rights to the Second Amendment.