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Everything We Know About the Virginia Beach Shooting

Everything We Know About the Virginia Beach Shooting

An FBI agent at the scene of the mass shooting in the Virginia Beach Municipal center.
Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

Twelve people were killed and four injured when a longtime city-government employee opened fire on his co-workers at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday — the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. this year and since 12 people were killed at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, last November. Below is everything we know so far.

America’s latest mass-shooting massacre began a little after 4 p.m. on Friday at one of the buildings that make up the Municipal Center in Virginia Beach — a city of about 450,000 people on Virginia’s southeast coast. The gunman, a 40-year-old municipal employee later identified by police as DeWayne Craddock, came armed with two .45-caliber handguns, at least one of which he had equipped with a sound suppressor, and extended-capacity magazines.

The gunman apparently shot and killed his first victim in a car outside the three-story building where he worked for the public utilities department, known as Building 2. Then, using his badge to enter the employee-only area of the building, he went floor to floor firing on his co-workers indiscriminately, according to police. By the end, he had killed 12 people and wounded another four in the attack — three of whom were still in critical condition as of Saturday.

Outside Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on June 1.
Photo: ERIC BARADAT/AFP/Getty Images

Witnesses later said that the shooting quickly prompted confusion and panic, with some people fleeing the scene and others attempting to barricade themselves inside offices — along with what is now the standard practice of potential mass-shooting victims calling or texting their loved ones while they wait to see if they live or die. At least one person was seen jumping out of a second-story window to escape. One witness said the shooting sounded like automatic gunfire at one point. It is not clear if using a silencer on his handgun allowed the gunman any advantage in the attack.

As the city’s police department was only hundreds of feet away, four police officers responded to shooting just minutes after the first report of it came in at 4:08 p.m. At about 4:19 p.m., police located and confronted the gunman, fatally wounding him after what Virginia Beach police chief James Cervera called a “long-term, large gunfight.” One officer was also shot in the battle but was saved by his bulletproof vest. The entire attack lasted about 40 minutes, according to an analysis of the police-scanner traffic during the incident.

It was a “horrific crime scene,” Cervera said on Saturday, explaining that handling the aftermath had taken “a physical, emotional, and psychological toll on everyone who spent the night in that building.”

All but one of the dead were city employees, while the one person who wasn’t was a local contractor who had been inside dealing with a permit. Building 2 housed most of the departments that managed operations for the city, including public works, public utilities, planning, and permits and inspections, among other responsibilities. About 400 public servants typically work in the building, according to the Virginian-Pilot, but some had apparently already left for the weekend by the time of the attack, which may have limited the carnage. The Virginia Beach Municipal Center, located in the city’s Princess Anne area, was built in 1822 and comprises about 30 Colonial-style brick buildings housing the independent city’s government.

Building 2 was also the closest building to City Hall, which was just hundreds of feet away. Employees there were told to hide under their desks once security personnel learned of the attack. A city councilwoman told the Virginian-Pilot the city had recently boosted security at City Hall in response to the nationwide epidemic of mass shootings, but that the level of security varied from building to building at the Municipal Center. After the attack, the complex looked like a war zone, Police Chief Cervera told reporters.

Mayor Bobby Dyer said on Friday night that the attack involved “our friends, co-workers, neighbors, [and] colleagues” and marked “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.”

“You don’t prepare for something like this — it’s a nightmare no one wants to actually live through,” Mayor Dyer said on Friday, but the police department had been actively trying to prepare the community for such an event for years. Police had even scheduled an active-shooter training session for community members on Saturday morning, per a 13/ABC local news report published a few hours before the attack:

During the workshop, officers will show you how to recognize dangerous situations and you’ll learn how your body responds. Also, people who choose to participate will practice “no-skills needed” maneuvers to fight off a gunman.

[Virginia Beach master police officer David] Nieves said he wants his community to feel empowered by this class. “I love this city, I love this community. I’m part of it.”

With hundreds of these presentations under his belt, Nieves wants to make potential active shooters think twice.

“Hopefully shooters realize maybe Virginia Beach is not the place because the citizens will be ready for them.”

Nieves began conducting the trainings seven years ago, after the Sandy Hook shooting, and initially offered it at workplaces and municipal offices before bringing it to the general public two years ago. Just like mass shootings, those types of trainings, as well as active-shooter drills, are increasingly becoming a regular part of American life. At the same time, Friday’s attack happened literally across the street from City Hall and the police department in Virginia Beach, and while city authorities presumably did everything they could, as fast as they could, in response — and that saved lives — they couldn’t prevent the deaths of another 12 people in yet another mass shooting.

Top left to top right: Laquita Brown, Ryan Keith Cox, Mary Louise Gallagher, Gayle, Alexander Gusev, and Joshua Hardy. Bottom left to bottom right: Michelle Langer, Richard Nettleton, Katherine Nixon, Christopher Rapp, Herbert Snelling, and Robert Williams. RIP.

Some of the 12 workers killed in Friday’s attack had worked for the City of Virginia Beach for decades. They included men and women, both white and black, and across a range of ages. As the Associated Press pointed out on Saturday, all told, the victims had provided more than 150 years of public service between them. Six worked in the same department as the gunman.

Laquita C. Brown 39, was a public works right-of-way agent who had worked for the city for four years.

Ryan Keith Cox was a public utilities account clerk who had worked for the city for 12 years, and he was known for his powerful singing voice in the choir at his church, where his father still serves as pastor.

Tara Welch Gallagher had worked in the public works department for six years.

Mary Louise Gayle had worked in the public works department for 24 years.

Alexander Mikhail Gusev, 35, was an immigrant from Belarus who earned a degree in civil engineering and went from being a lumber worker to serving as a right-of-way agent at the public works department, where he’d been for nine years.

Joshua O. Hardy had been working as an engineering technician in the public utilities department for four years.

Michelle “Missy” Langer, who recently turned 60, had been working as an administrative assistant at the public utilities department for 12 years. Prior to that, the Ohio native loved visiting Virginia Beach so much on vacation that she finally decided to move there.

Richard Nettleton had worked at the public utilities department for 28 years and helped lead multiple engineering projects for the city over that time.

Katherine A. Nixon, who was in her early 40s, had worked as an engineer at the public utilities department for ten years and came from a family of civil engineers, according to the Washington Post. She was the city’s senior engineer in charge of the utilities department’s regulatory compliance.

Christopher Kelly Rapp had been working as an engineer for the public works department for 11 months and played in a bagpipe band in his free time.

Herbert “Bert” Snelling, 57, was a Virginia Beach–based contractor who was the only victim who didn’t work for the city. He was at Building 2 to fill a permit at the time and was reportedly both a husband and a father.

Robert “Bobby” Williams was a special projects coordinator who had worked at the public utilities department for 41 years.

Of the injured — who remain unidentified — three remained in critical condition as of Saturday, according to the Associated Press. Two were expected to survive, but a medical official has called the other victim’s injuries “devastating.”

Kristal Davis, sister-in-law to shooting victim Ryan Keith Cox, pauses to look at flowers and flags left as a memorial outside of the crime scene at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. Davis said Cox, who was an accountant in the pubic utilities department, had helped a group of people escape the building and had reentered the building to help evacuate others when he was shot. He was one of 12 victims of Friday’s shooting rampage at the Municipal Center along with the shooter, city engineer DeWayne Craddock.
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

DeWayne Craddock was a 40-year-old certified professional engineer at the Virginia Beach public utilities department, where he had worked for 15 years, according to city officials. Nothing is yet known or confirmed about why he attacked his co-workers on Friday. Police have refused to discuss any possible motive, or details that might suggest one, while the investigation is still under way — but refuted earlier unconfirmed reports that he had been fired from his job. At least one anonymous Virginia government official has referred to Craddock as a “disgruntled employee,” but that characterization has not been confirmed, as of Saturday, either.

Police Chief Cervera said when he released the shooter’s name that the police would only be referring to his name that one time and never again — in order to keep the focus on the victims. As of Saturday, authorities have not released a photo of Craddock, who is black.

On Saturday, an ATF official said that Craddock had purchased both of the .45-caliber handguns he used in his attack legally in 2016 and 2018. Police found two more weapons in a search of his home, and the one they have identified records for was also purchased legally. At least one of the guns he used in his attack was equipped with a sound suppressor, and police found multiple spent extended-capacity magazines for the handguns at the scene of the attack.

The shooter had no criminal record beyond a single traffic offense, and served in the Virginia National Guard from 1996 to 2002, when he was discharged at the rank of specialist.

Most of the reporting about the gunman, as of Saturday, has consisted of casual observations from shocked neighbors, which don’t reveal anything more than “He kept to himself”–like remarks. One co-worker, who said he had talked to Craddock earlier Friday, before the shooting, recounted that exchange and his memory of the shooter to CNN:

Joseph Scott, an engineering technician, said he exchanged pleasantries with the quiet, 40-year-old certified professional engineer for the city in the bathroom shortly before the carnage.

“I said, ‘How are you doing?’ He said he was doing OK,” Scott remembered. “I asked, ‘Any plans for the weekend?’ And he said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, have a good day.’ And he said the same to me.”

Scott went home for the day. There was no sign of what was to come.

“I’m sure I’m going to hear all kinds of things about DeWayne, but I liked him,” Scott told CNN. “I worked with him. He was what I thought was a good person. When we were together, we would talk about family, friends, things that we were going to do, trips we were going to take and things like that.” …

Scott said he doesn’t want Craddock “painted as an evil person — something happened, but it wasn’t his nature,” adding that he lost many friends Friday.

Everything We Know About the Virginia Beach Shooting

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mass shootings

Everything We Know About the Virginia Beach Shooting

By Chas Danner

12 people were killed when a public utilities engineer opened fire on his coworkers — the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since November.

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Taking America’s dumpster fire on the road

With congressional Democrats mulling impeachment, [President Trump’s] Europe trip should be a welcome reprieve. What’s different in the Trump era is that the president doesn’t necessarily want one. Seldom do Trump trips go smoothly. In past visits to Europe, he’s ignited international incidents of varying degrees, insulting his hosts or threatening to unravel historic alliances. But, always, his mind seems elsewhere. …

When he lands in London on Monday, Trump will also be walking into a tense regional political environment where nationalist-populist forces are jockeying for power with more centrist groups. Trump symbolizes a nationalist wing hostile to immigration and focused on sovereignty. He has talked privately of pulling out of NATO, and upset many European leaders by withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. He has also criticized European Union trade practices. Taken together, Trump’s moves have threatened the multilateral consensus that has underpinned European security since the Second World War.

A belief inside some European capitals is that Trump is merely an aberration. Once he’s gone, the thinking goes, the next president will repudiate the brand of unilateralism that this one has championed. But Trump could be in the job through the end of 2024, depending on how elections go. In the meantime, Europe is still learning how to live with America’s impertinent president.

The Atlantic

(Though it’s not clear who, anywhere in the world, could have possibly expected any Trump event to go smoothly.)

The DOJ releases transcript of Trump lawyer’s possibly obstruction-related voicemail for Flynn, but rebuffs federal judge’s request for more

The Washington Post reports:

Federal prosecutors on Friday declined to make public transcripts of recorded conversations between Michael Flynn and Russia’s ambassador to the United States in December 2016, despite a judge’s order. In a court filing Friday, the Justice Department wrote that it did not rely on such recordings to establish Flynn’s guilt or determine a recommendation for his sentencing.

Prosecutors also failed to release an unredacted version of portions of the Mueller report related to Flynn that the judge had ordered be made public. …

Sullivan’s request was atypical, some legal experts said, in that he demanded the release of classified records that prosecutors did not use to prove Flynn’s guilt. …

The transcripts of the Flynn-Kisylak calls would provide a rare glimpse into the power of American surveillance to capture the private discussions of foreign emissaries — and an intimate look at a budding relationship between a top Russian official and one of the president-elect’s most trusted lieutenants in the weeks before Trump took office.

Bloomberg on what they did release:

A lawyer for President Donald Trump asked for a “heads up” from former national Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s attorney as Flynn was poised to enter a cooperation agreement with prosecutors from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, according to a transcript of the message made available Friday.

The lawyer, John Dowd, said in a voicemail the warning was necessary for the sake of “protecting all our interests, if we can, without you having to give up any … confidential information.” Dowd also reminded the general’s lawyer of the president’s “feelings” toward Flynn and said “that still remains.” …

In the transcript, which was peppered with ellipses and incomplete phrases, Dowd raised the prospect of information that might be damaging to the president. He said he understood Flynn couldn’t take part in a joint defense agreement.

However, he added, if “there’s information that … implicates the president … then we’ve got a national security issues, or maybe a national security issue, I don’t know.. some issue, we got to deal with, not only for the president, but for the country.”

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Judy Shelton, a senior US official who is being vetted for a job on the board of the Federal Reserve, has attacked the central bank for wielding undemocratic, Soviet-style powers over markets and suggested it should not even be in the business of setting interest rates.

In an interview with the Financial Times at the Trump International Hotel in Washington this week, Ms Shelton called on the Fed to “think about whether they are doing more harm than good”. If appointed to the board, she would be “asking tough questions” about its most basic mission, she said. 

… Ms Shelton has long been sympathetic to the gold standard, which the US fully abandoned in the early 1970s in favour of a flexible exchange rate for the dollar. “People call me a goldbug, and I think, well, what does that make them? A Fed bug,” she says. Her big dream is a new Bretton Woods-style conference — “if it takes place at Mar-a-Lago that would be great” — to reset the international monetary system, replacing the current regime, mostly based on floating currencies. Ms Shelton said countries should agree to tie their currencies to a “neutral reference point, a benchmark” — which she envisages to be a “convertible gold-backed bond”.  

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Horrifying conditions at the border

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The IG found “standing room only conditions” at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center, which has a maximum capacity of 125 migrants, but on May 7 and 8, logs indicated that there were “approximately 750 and 900 detainees, respectively.”

A cell with a maximum capacity of 12 held 76 detainees, another with a maximum capacity of 8 held 41 detainees, and another with a maximum capacity of 35 held 155 detainees, according to the report.

“(Customs and Border Protection) was struggling to maintain hygienic conditions in the holding cells. With limited access to showers and clean clothing, detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report states.

“We also observed detainees standing on toilets in the cells to make room and gain breathing space, thus limiting access to the toilets,” it adds.

“Corrective action is critical to the immediate health and safety needs of detainees, who cannot continue to be held in standing-room-only conditions for weeks until additional tents are constructed,” the report states.

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The three-day CDP convention is the largest gathering of active Democrats in the state, with more than 3,400 delegates set to attend.

Saturday’s lineup includes 2020 presidential hopefuls U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, as well as former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

U.S. Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Eric Swalwell, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will also appear on Saturday.

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This went to a weird place

Asked by CBS News’ Jan Crawford about concerns over his reputation for defending the president amid ongoing probes into the administration’s alleged ties to the Russian government and claims that Mr. Trump obstructed justice, [Attorney General] Barr appeared indifferent.

“I am at the end of my career,” Barr said. “Everyone dies and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries, you know?”  

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Boteach also said Booker is “trying to erase” his Jewish connections to satisfy the Democratic Party’s increasingly assertive left, which is often at odds with Israel. He noted that in his 2016 book, “United,” Booker makes no mention of their friendship or his connection to Judaism: “It’s like he’s almost embarrassed.”

…. Booker sighed heavily when told of Boteach’s contentions. He said the falling-out was not over Iran: “I have lots of friends I disagree with over the Iran deal, and we’re still friends.”

He said he withdrew from Boteach long before the Iran deal, because, he said, Boteach had begun using their friendship for self-promotion.

“Friendships are based on trust,” Booker said. “This was somebody who was using the personal in public in a way that was deeply unfortunate.”

Booker has rarely criticized Boteach publicly and declined to provide specifics.

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During a nearly hour-long interview in Anchorage, Alaska, CBS News chief legal correspondent Jan Crawford pressed the attorney general on a number of issues from obstruction to his new review of the Russia investigation. The attorney general said he was surprised when Mueller told him he would not decide if the president obstructed justice but said he didn’t press him on it and then, working with Justice Department lawyers, stepped in and made the decision himself based on the evidence Mueller had gathered.

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“As a matter of law?” Crawford asked.

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Most declined to discuss their frustration with the D.N.C.’s rules on the record or to indicate how exactly they would shift tactics, saying their campaign plans were confidential. But campaign after campaign said the party’s donor requirements are skewing the way they allocate resources, forcing them to choose between investing in staff or pouring more money into ads on sites like Facebook, where prices are soaring to dizzying new heights. Two campaigns said digital vendors are currently quoting them prices of $40 and up to acquire a new $1 donor.

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This appears to be the first time the DNC has had such a rule

With more women in the presidential race than ever before, the Democratic National Committee is requiring that each 2020 Democratic presidential debate includes at least one female moderator, Refinery29 is exclusively reporting.

“The DNC is committed to an inclusive and fair debate process,” DNC senior adviser Mary Beth Cahill told Refinery29. “That means that all 12 DNC sanctioned debates will feature a diverse group of moderators and panelists including women and people of color, ensuring that the conversations reflect the concerns of all Americans.”

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The Texas Republican and the New York Democrat made the pact on Twitter after Ocasio-Cortez tweeted a report by the watchdog group Public Citizen on the number of former lawmakers who’ve headed to K Street this year.

“I don’t think it should be legal at ALL to become a corporate lobbyist if you’ve served in Congress,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Cruz, who’s feuded with Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter before, tweeted that he agreed, suggesting it might be “a chance for some bipartisan cooperation.”

Ocasio-Cortez responded by proposing a deal: “If we can agree on a bill with no partisan snuck-in clauses, no poison pills, etc – just a straight, clean ban on members of Congress becoming paid lobbyists – then I’ll co-lead the bill with you.”

“You’re on,” Cruz responded.

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