Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Mount Trashmore Memorial Walk for victims of mass shooting draws nearly 1K people

VIRGINIA BEACH — Nearly 1,000 people gathered Saturday morning at Mount Trashmore to pay their respects to the 12 people killed and the four injured in the May 31 mass shooting at Building 2 of the city’s Municipal Center.

The crowd, mostly wearing blue and stickers saying “VB Strong,” took turns signing a commemorative poster with the 12 faces and names of the victims before heading out to walk around the park.

“We’ve had a great turnout, we ran out of wristbands. It’s been amazing,” said Reina Gruenloh, a volunteer working the event.

Representatives from the local veterans network, suicide awareness groups and United Way of South Hampton Roads were there to garner support for the community and give people a chance to donate funds for the families affected by the tragedy.

Among the dead 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.

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 the Municipal Complex. The shooter sent an emailed resignation letter to his boss just hours before the shooting.

“We are not the fundraisers, they [the community] are,” said Judi Morgan, director of operations for United Way of South Hampton Roads.

She said they were surprised by how many people have reached out to offer donations, grave plots, flowers and even plane tickets for the families.

As of Saturday, about $2 million has been raised, Morgan said.

Officials said 100 percent of that money will go to the 12 victims’ families as well as the four injured and their families, Morgan said.

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John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzohttp://wydaily.com
John Mangalonzo (john@localdailymedia.com) 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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