VIRGINIA BEACH — The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to pass a bill naming a post office here in honor of Ryan “Keith” Cox — one of the employees killed in a mass shooting at the Municipal Center on May 31.
Rep. Elaine Luria, D-2nd, introduced the bill in June and said in a release “I am proud to have led this delegation-wide effort to honor Keith’s selfless actions and impact on our Virginia Beach community.”
“When we walk by that post office and see Keith’s name, we’ll think of his life-saving heroics,” she said.
The House unanimously passed the bi-partisan bill for the post office at 2509 George Mason Drive to become known as the “Ryan Keith Cox Post Office Building,” according to a release.
To become law, the bill now must pass the Senate and be signed by the president.
According to a release, Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, both Democrats, have urged Senate committee leaders to take up the bill to expedite passage in that chamber.
“In our community’s darkest hour, Keith prioritized the safety of his colleagues over his own,” Luria said before the vote. “He was a true servant leader who made the ultimate sacrifice. This is our chance to tell Keith’s story, to showcase his heroism to our community, our Commonwealth, and our nation.”
After the tragedy on May 31, it was reported Cox saved a number of people that day when he helped his co-workers find safety and then stood watch for the gunman and said “I’ve got to see if anybody needs help.”
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 and the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church who received a standing ovation after delivering a sermon on hurt healing and faith at the city’s memorial service in June.
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There are 16 victims who were shot that day –four wounded and 12 who were killed, including Mary Louise Gayle, Tara Welch Gallagher, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Katherine A. Nixon, Joshua O. Hardy and Michelle “Missy” Langer, all of Virginia Beach; Laquita C. Brown and Robert “Bobby” Williams, both of Chesapeake; Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan; and Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk.
The 12th victim, Herbert “Bert” Snelling of Virginia Beach, was a contractor who was in the building to seek a permit.
Luria’s full floor speech: