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Monday, May 27, 2024

‘Say their names…Remember their names’

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

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

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
Ryan Keith Cox

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

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 Lou Gayle

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

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

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

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

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. Lusich Nixon
Katherine A. Lusich Nixon

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
Christopher Kelly Rapp

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
Herbert “Bert” Snelling

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

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)


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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