VIRGINIA BEACH — The man who shot and killed 12 people at a government building Friday was identified as a 15-year employee of the city Department of Public Works and all but one of his victims were city employees, authorities announced Saturday.
DeWayne Craddock, of Virginia Beach, was an engineer who served as a project manager and contact for a number of utility projects, according to posts on the Virginia Beach web site.
Authorities solemnly read the names of each of the victims at the outset of a press conference on Saturday morning, saying all worked for the Department of Public Works and the Department of Public Utilities, except for one contractor.
They were listed as Laquita C. Brown of Chesapeake; Tara Welch Gallagher of Virginia Beach; Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach; Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach; Katherine A. Nixon of Virginia Beach; Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk; Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan; Ryan Keith Cox of Virginia Beach; Joshua A. Hardy of Virginia Beach; Michelle “Missy” Langer of Virginia Beach; Robert “Bobby” Williams of Chesapeake; and Herbert “Bert” Snelling of Virginia Beach.
“They leave a void we will never be able to fill,” city manager Dave Hansen said at the press conference.
Police Chief James A. Cervera declined to discuss a motive for the spree, but said Craddock was still a city employee at the time of the shooting and used a city issued badge to gain entry to a building in the city’ sprawling municipal complex.
Cervara said the officers, along with the FBI and Virginia State Police, worked through the night to identify all the victims of the shooting, which started shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday.
Cervera said Friday an officer was among the wounded but was saved by his protective vest. He said the gunman “fired indiscriminately” with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun on several floors of the building, one of many in the complex.
The chief said people were found wounded on all three floors and that one was shot in a vehicle outside. He said four victims were in surgery Friday night but that there might have been others who sought treatment on their own.
Speaking at a late-night news conference Friday, Cervera, along with the mayor and Virginia’s governor, spoke in impassioned tones about the horror of what unfolded in a building used by as many as 400 workers as well as residents trying to obtain building permits, pay water bills or work through zoning issues.
Cervera said the shooter was armed with a gun with an attached sound suppressor and extended magazines, enabling him to fire many rounds and engage four police officers in what the chief described as a “long-term gun battle” down building hallways.
“The officers stopped the suspect from doing more carnage in the building,” Cervera said.
Mayor Bobby Dyer told reporters that “today is Virginia Beach’s darkest hour.” He said a “senseless crime happened and imposed tremendous grief upon the people of Virginia Beach, the Commonwealth and this country.”
Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said the victims, shot near the end of the last day of the workweek, “were heading into the summer weekend. That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy.”
He added that the shooting “tests our souls.”
Friday’s shooting added another city to the growing list of places affected by a mass shooting. It is the deadliest since November, when a gunman opened fire at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., killing 12 before fatally shooting himself. A police officer responding to that shooting died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds.