Police on Saturday identified the gunman who opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday and killed 12 people as a “disgruntled” city employee who had served in the military. Four others were seriously injured and are in the hospital. Officials did not elaborate as to why DeWayne Craddock, who had worked for the city for 15 years, was disgruntled or what could have precipitated the attack. They also did not say whether he was facing any kind of disciplinary action. Craddock died after engaging in a “long-term gun battle” with police officers that wounded one officer who was saved by his bullet-proof vest.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said at a news conference. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors and colleagues.” It was the deadliest mass shooting in the United States since November 2018 when 12 people were killed at a bar in California.
Craddock allegedly shot and killed his first victim in a car outside the public works and utilities building before going inside and opening fire “immediately and indiscriminately,” Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said. The gunfire began at around 4 p.m., just as workers were getting ready to leave for the weekend. Officials found people wounded on all three floors of the building as Craddock seemed to move quickly through the building armed with at least a .45-caliber pistol that had a sound suppressor and extended magazines that helped him reload repeatedly during the attack. Police later said they recovered “additional weapons” at the scene.
Craddock, 40, joined the Army National Guard after graduating from high school in the nearby city of Newport News. He then went to Old Dominion University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. He worked at private firms before joining the city government. Craddock did not appear to have any record with the police beyond some traffic violations.
Police and city officials made a point of saying they would only name the suspect once in order to focus attention on the victims. Virginia Beach city manager Dave Hansen named the victims during a news conference, describing the shooting as a “senseless, incomprehensible act of violence.” Eleven of the dead were city employees and one was a contractor who was trying to obtain a permit. The dead were:
Laquita C Brown, of Chesapeake, Virginia; Tara Walsh Gallagher, of Virginia Beach; Mary Louis Gayle, of Virginia Beach; Alexander Mikhail Gusev, of Virginia Beach; Katherine A Nixon, of Virginia Beach; Richard H Nettleton, of Norfolk; Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan; Ryan Keith Cox, of Virginia Beach; Joshua A Hardy, of Virginia Beach; Michelle “Missy” Langer, of Virginia Beach; Robert “Bobby” Williams, of Chesapeake; and Herbert “Bert” Snelling, of Virginia Beach.