Thursday, September 21, 2023

He emailed his boss that he was quitting, then hours later shot 12 people to death – here’s a timeline of the Municipal Center shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH – The man police say shot and killed 12 people and injured others Friday at the city’s Municipal Center apparently emailed his resignation hours before the carnage.

And to clear up earlier reports, City Manager Dave Hansen on Sunday said, “to my knowledge, the perpetrator’s performance was satisfactory and that he was in good standing in his department and that there were no issues.”

Hansen said the shooter had notified his chain of command of his intention to quit his job via email on Friday, hours before the shooting.

Police Chief Jim Cervera identified the shooter, who died in a gunbattle with police, as DeWayne Craddock 40, a 15-year city employee who worked as an engineer for the public works department.

The gunman had a security pass to get into the building, Hansen said.

Cervera said he had “no information” to lead to the conclusion that the suspect had targeted anyone specifically.

The shooter graduated from Denbigh High School in Newport News in 1996 and joined the Army National Guard. 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.


At 4:08 p.m. Friday, police, fire and EMS were dispatched to the area and reported sounds of shots being fired in Building 2 in the city’s municipal center, Cervera said.

Then between 4:15 and 4:18 p.m. four officers entered the building, made contact with the shooter on the second floor and engaged in a long gunbattle –- some five to eight minutes.

While police do not have the exact number of rounds fired Cervera did say the shots were in the double digits, noting anything beyond three to five shots is considered a long gunbattle.

He described how officers who entered the building pursued the man through a tightly packed warren of offices and exchanged gunfire with him.

At 4:19 p.m. an officer was wounded by the shooter.

At that point the shooter moved to an enclosed space and the four officers, two detectives and two K-9 officers, made a decision to breach the door and enter the space.

Cervera was unable to comment on whether there were any people in the room with the shooter at the time.

The shooter was then taken into custody by the four officers and given medical care by the officers. He died later in a local hospital.

From entry into the building to taking the shooter into custody lasted 36 minutes, Cervera said.

At 25 minutes into the situation the first critical transport was taken to an area hospital by ambulance.

At the one-hour mark of the situation the last injured individual was taken to the hospital, Cervera said.

The four officers who engaged in the gun battle with the shooter were not wearing body cameras, Cervera said.

Among the dead were four other engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands and three right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines. 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.

(Southside Daily/Courtesy of the city of Virginia Beach)
(Southside Daily/Courtesy of the city of Virginia Beach)

Four people remain hospitalized. According to a Sentara update Sunday morning, three of the patients in Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital are “in critical condition – one of them was fair but is critical this morning due to post-surgery recovery. Other two remain critical same as earlier.”

One patient in Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in “critical – but stable” Sunday morning.

Police have not released information about a possible motive for the killings.

As part of the investigation, the shooter’s movements are being tracked through his building access card, Cervera said.

Family liaisons have been assigned to each of the victims’ families for support and as a point of contact for information, Hansen said.

“We are making sure that they know they are not alone,” Hansen said.


“We are Virginia Beach strong,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer. “We have a City Council and a management team that’s engaged but we also have a public that in an overwhelming way is trying to embrace the victims and their families.”

“Through adversity we are going to remain strong,” the mayor added. “This is the beginning of what is going to be a lifelong process. We gotta be with them.”

No new information has been released on the weapons found in the shooter’s possession but the investigation is still ongoing, Cervera said.

Two .45-caliber pistols were 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 bought the weapons legally, one in 2016 and one in 2018, Benedict said.

On Monday, all municipal offices will be closed at the Municipal Center, Hansen said.

Schools and courts will operate as usual on Monday. On Tuesday, all municipal center building will be open with the exception of Building 2 – where the shooting happened.

Building 2 will be closed until further notice, Hansen said.

Gun bill

Sen. Charles Schumer’s on Sunday said a universal background check bill must be brought to the Senate floor for a vote.

Schumer said the victims were hardworking government employees who were “just snuffed out.”

He said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should bring the bill that would require background checks on all gun sales in the United States to the Senate floor for a vote. The House passed similar legislation in February.

Officials have said the guns used in the shooting were purchased legally.

Still, Schumer says the background check legislation could help prevent future shootings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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