Sunday, February 25, 2024

Virginia Beach city manager issues statement, updates on the May 31 mass shooting

Virginia Beach residents visit a memorial outside of Building 11 dedicated to the 12 victims lost in the Municipal Center shooting. (Southside Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)
Virginia Beach residents visit a memorial outside of Building 11 dedicated to the 12 victims lost in the Municipal Center shooting. (Southside Daily/Lucretia Cunningham)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The city manager here has issued a prepared statement days after the husband of one of the 12 people killed during the May 31 mass shooting went public with his decision to seek an independent investigation.

RELATED STORY: Virginia Beach vice mayor: Call for independent probe on the May 31 mass shooting ‘makes no sense’

Dave Hansen wrote in a news release, “In the aftermath of the most horrific tragedy in Virginia Beach, we understand the intense interest in finding out why one of our own conducted this deadly rampage.”

“The speed with which we responded to the shooting was coupled with a demonstrated commitment to transparency,” he wrote.

Kate Nixon is one of the 12 who died in the mass shooting. Early in the week, attorney Kevin Martingayle publicly announced he is representing the Nixon family and requested approval to conduct an independent investigation simultaneously with the Virginia Beach Police Department’s criminal investigation.

RELATED STORY: Kate Nixon is one of the city employees who died May 31: Her family is not settling for the city’s answers

Martingayle said the city’s delay to release what seems like selective information surrounding the killing of 12 people, 11 of whom were city employees, “is hard to understand.”

In the statement Thursday, Hansen released a timeline of events following the shooting at the city’s Municipal Center and an update of the investigation.

“Within 16 hours of the incident, we shared publicly the identities of the victims and the suspect. Within 48 hours, the Virginia Beach Police Department provided the timeline of events and engaged the local FBI field office which offered resources for the processing of the scene. Within 72 hours, we released the resignation email the shooter had sent in which he provided his two-week notice.”

Update as of June 13 as written by Hansen:

  • Police identified 240 people to be interviewed who were witnesses, present in the building and/or had significant information. The number of people to be interviewed has continued to grow as detectives reassemble what happened.
  • On Monday, June 10 the FBI released the building to the Virginia Beach Police Department who immediately began working in the building for additional forensic evidence.
  • On Wednesday, June 12, police released the building back to the City for cleanup and remediation, including retrieving personal items to return to their owners—that process is underway. We are also securing paper and electronic files that may have relevance to this ongoing investigation.
  • In the week since the last briefing, there have been rumors, innuendo, conflicting theories and speculation. There have been suggestions that one of the names redacted from the shooter’s resignation email was Kate Nixon. We have confirmed she was not an addressee on the email as she was not a supervisor in the shooter’s chain of command.
  • Additionally, the Police have investigated reports of the shooter being confrontational, argumentative and engaging in fights. The investigation has not uncovered evidence corroborating these allegations

Should the independent investigation come to fruition, Martingayle said he’ll produce an “after action plan” which will allow the city to learn from this event and make a safer community.

The city has said in a previous statement Martingayle’s requests were “premature.”

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