VIRGINIA BEACH — May 31 will forever be a day etched into the minds of anyone living in or near Virginia Beach. A mass shooting that took place at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in 2019 claimed the lives of 12 city workers.
Two years later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has concluded its investigative assistance to the Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) and has provided a final verbal briefing to the police department.
According to a June 9 news release from the FBI Norfolk Division, per request of VBPD, the FBI provided significant law enforcement assistance to the police department’s response and investigation of the incident.
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In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the bureau deployed crisis management and operational personnel to assist with the local response. This included field Evidence Response Teams and experts from the FBI Laboratory who conducted a complex 10-day evidence recovery operation and forensic investigation of the crime scene in Municipal Center, and specialists from the Victim Services Division who were deployed to support victims, family members, and others impacted by the incident.
In support of the police department’s investigation, FBI agents conducted numerous victim and witness interviews, and computer experts examined digital evidence.
The FBI’s response to the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting was led by the Norfolk Field Office and included assets from multiple field offices and headquarters divisions.
FBI Assessment of Attacker’s Motivation
As part of the investigative team’s effort to determine the motivation of the shooter, for the workplace attack, VBPD requested assistance from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), based in Quantico, VA.
The BAU provides investigative support and post-attack behavioral analysis of mass violence at the request of law enforcement agencies to assist with their investigation of an attack and determine motive.
BAU conducted a comprehensive assessment of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting at the request of VBPD. An extensive review of all available evidence, combined with the team’s experience, training, and resources, allowed BAU to gain a more thorough understanding of motivations for the attack.
The purpose of this type of analysis is to help law enforcement better understand mass violence, and to use the lessons learned from each incident to prevent future incidents from occurring.
“The members of BAU are aware of the horrific impact of this incident and extend our deepest sympathies to the victims, survivors, families, and community. Our hope is that by helping develop a better understanding of why people commit these horrible acts of violence, we can ultimately help prevent future tragedies,” the release stated.
According to the news release, the BAU shared its key findings with VBPD during the final briefing.
The BAU assesses the shooter, DeWayne Craddock, 40, was motivated by perceived workplace grievances, which he fixated on for years. BAU found the shooter struggled with how he perceived his own work performance and how others at work viewed him.
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The report goes on to say that the shooter’s inflated sense of self-importance contributed to this conflict and led him to believe he was unjustly and repeatedly criticized and slighted. Violence was viewed by the shooter as a way to reconcile this conflict and restore his view of justice.
These grievances began taking shape as early as 2014, and Craddock isolated himself by disengaging from relationships to conceal his intentions. For this reason, BAU assesses that no individual or group was in a position to see the confluence of behaviors that may have forewarned the attack.
The BAU also stated that Craddock suffered from significant mental health stressors which appear to have contributed in part to his decompensation in advance of the attack; however, the news release stated mental health stressors alone cannot explain the Virginia Beach attack.
The release also noted that the BAU concluded the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooter is similar in many ways to other active shooters studied by the FBI.
“It is important to note that only the shooter knew the real reason why he committed this horrific act of violence; however, at this time, the FBI is confident, based on evidence collected, that the above assessment is accurate,” the release stated.
The final investigation summary report can be accessed here.
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