Thursday, August 11, 2022

As Virginia Beach searches for answers, the community pulls together

(Southside Daily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)
(WYDaily/Melanie Occhiuzzo)

VIRGINIA BEACH — As the long process of healing begins in this city, hundreds of city employees – all affected by Friday’s mass shooting at the Municipal Center – were in the Convention Center Monday.

It was a somber private gathering (employees only) just three days after a gunman opened fire inside Building 2, killing 12 people and injuring four others.

Police Chief Jim Cervera identified the shooter, who died in a gunbattle with police, as DeWayne Craddock 40, a longtime city employee.

Among the dead from that carnage 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.

One of the two city fire trucks parked outside the Convention Center had a huge American flag hanging from a ladder.

Michelle Walz is a supervisor in the city’s Parks Department. He says City Manager David Hansen spoke to employees and told them they will stick together and work through the tragedy as a “family.”

The city is making a large number of counselors available for employees, officials said.

There were other memorials Monday around the city. Public schools, businesses all around the state – and perhaps the country wore blue, a sign of solidarity and support to the victims of Friday’s mass shooting.

City officials are inviting the public to come to “VB Remembers,” an event to remember the victims. It will be on Thursday at 7 p.m. at The Rock Church, 640 Kempsville Road.

Here’s a list of other remembrances planned this week:


  • 6 p.m. — Old Dominion University, outside Webb University Center, located at 1526 W. 49th St. (Norfolk).


  • 10 a.m. – Memorial walk  Virginia Beach victims, families & community at Mount Trashmore Park, 310 Edwin Drive.


  • 7 p.m. Hampton Roads Ecumenical Council of Bishops prayer vigil, Grace Bible Church, 2956 Ansol Lane

The United Way of the Virginia Peninsula is accepting donations to help relief efforts to support the victims’ families.

Monetary donations will be accepted at United Way’s office, 11820 Fountain Way, Suite 206, Newport News or online at – 100 percent of all donations made to this fund will support the victims’ families.

“We live in such a responsive and caring community,” said United Way of the Virginia Peninsula President and CEO Steven S. Kast. “We have already received an outpouring of calls and emails from people asking, ‘How can we help?’ United Ways across the region will rally for our community in the months and years ahead to alleviate and support the hardships experienced by these families.”

To donate, click here.


John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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