Monday, June 17, 2024

May 31 was tragic in Virginia Beach. June is Gun Violence Awareness Month. Here’s what the AG has to say

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

State Attorney General Mark Herring met with other attorneys general from other states and survivors of gun violence ahead of “Wear Orange Weekend” to discuss the need for legislative change on Wednesday.

Friday is National Gun Violence Awareness Day when participants are encouraged to wear orange in solidarity — it’s just one week after a mass shooting left 12 people dead and four more wounded in Virginia Beach’s Municipal Center.

RELATED STORY: They wore orange to raise awareness on gun violence

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.

Virginia Beach Police Chief, Jim Cervera identified the shooter, who died in a gunbattle with police, as a longtime city employee who worked as an engineer in Building 2 of the Municipal Complex. The shooter sent an emailed resignation letter to his boss just hours before the shooting.

“We in Virginia are absolutely heartbroken that Virginia Beach is the latest community in America to be touched by the pain and inexplicable violence of mass shooting,” Herring said Wednesday.

The attorney general noted the issue is unique to the U.S., “other countries have disgruntled employees, troubled students, and abusive spouses, but ours is the only country that gives them easy access to guns.”

Herring said Virginia should take this opportunity for action as nothing has changed since the mass shooting at Virginia Tech 12 years ago.

“Politicians in Virginia and Washington said all the right things, ‘never forget,’ ‘we’ll remember,’ ‘we have to do something’ and yet nothing has changed.”

On Tuesday, Gov. Ralph Northam announced a special session for lawmakers to consider gun-control legislation.

Northam said the massacre in Virginia Beach demands that lawmakers put saving lives before party doctrine.


John Mangalonzo
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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