Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd, spoke on the House floor Tuesday and remembered the 12 people who died after a gunman opened fire at Virginia Beach’s Municipal Center, Building 2 Friday.
“Today I grieve for Virginia Beach, a great city in our district where America’s most devastating mass shooting happened last Friday,” Luria told members of Congress. “That morning, 12 innocent people left their homes for work. But they didn’t return home to their families, and they never will.”
Among the dead from that carnage were four 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.
Police Chief Jim Cervera identified the shooter, who died in a gunbattle with police, as DeWayne Craddock 40, a longtime city employee. Craddock was mortally wounded in an intense gunbattle with police.
He had emailed his resignation just hours before the shooting.
12 lives taken (from Luria’s speech)
Laquita C. Brown, a right-of-way agent who lived in Chesapeake, was an avid traveler who chronicled trips to New York City, Europe, and West Africa. A friend of hers called her “Ms. Worldwide.” Her 40th birthday was coming up in November.
Ryan Keith Cox, an account clerk who lived in Virginia Beach, had a “golden voice” & sang in his church choir. He had recently accepted his own calling to the ministry, to follow in the footsteps of his father, Pastor E. Ray Cox, a friend & the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. During the shooting, Keith guided colleagues to safety, but did not join them so he could look out for others.
Tara Welch Gallagher, an engineer who lived in Virginia Beach, educated the public about clean water and served her city for six years. Tara’s survivors include her husband and 22-month-old son. Her husband told a reporter: “She was everything to me.”
Mary Louise Gayle was a right-of-way agent who lived in Virginia Beach. A proud grandmother, she had just turned 65, and her children planned to take their mom to Portland later this month to celebrate her birthday.
Alexander Mikhail Gusev, a right-of-way agent who lived in Virginia Beach, moved from Belarus to seek a better life in America. He was a generous and thoughtful person who was said to grab his lawnmower and cut his neighbor’s lawn without even being asked.
Joshua O. Hardy, an engineering technician who lived in Virginia Beach, was a loving uncle. A healthy eater and runner, he smiled on the job and found time to write a beloved children’s book that spoke to youth about “strangers in their midst.”
Michelle “Missy” Langer, an administrative assistant who lived in Virginia Beach, loved the Pittsburgh Steelers, Paul McCartney, and the ocean. A friend said: “I will miss her smile and her hugs. That’s the hardest thing.”
Richard H. Nettleton, an engineer who lived in Norfolk, helped design, install, and maintain Virginia Beach’s water and sewer systems. An Army veteran, he enjoyed mentoring young engineers.
Katherine A. Nixon, an engineer who lived in Virginia Beach, was a devoted wife and mother to three daughters, one of whom is just 15 months old. According to her neighbor, her final call was to her husband, just moments after she was shot.
Christopher Kelly Rapp, an engineer who lived in Powhatan, played the bagpipes and loved Scottish music. Compared by some to Mr. Rogers, he was known as encouraging and enthusiastic.
Herbert “Bert” Snelling, a contractor who lived in Virginia Beach and was visiting the Municipal Center for a permit, led his church’s security team. In his work, he did everything from small handyman repair to building homes.
Robert “Bobby” Williams, a special projects coordinator who lived in Chesapeake, worked for Virginia Beach for 41 years. He helped build the sea wall in our city and planned on retiring this year to spend more time with his family.
(Photos are courtesy of the city of Virginia Beach)
- Shooter kills 12 people at city’s Municipal Center; mayor calls it ‘the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach’
- Virginia Beach officials ID all 12 victims of Friday mass shooting; shooter was longtime employee and had a security pass
- Mass shooting info slowly coming to light, as Virginia Beach plans for a memorial