VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Four were engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands. Three were right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines. The others included an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant and a special projects coordinator. In all, they had served the city of Virginia Beach for more than 150 years.

These 11 city employees and one contractor were wiped out Friday when a fellow city worker opened fire inside a municipal building. A day after the shooting, city officials sought to honor them by sharing their job titles and years of service in a somber slideshow.

“They leave a void that we will never be able to fill,” said City Manager Dave Hansen, who had worked for years with many of the dead.

Police Chief James Cervera identified the assailant as DeWayne Craddock, who had been employed for 15 years as an engineer with the city’s utilities department. He declined to comment on a motive for the rampage, which ended with Craddock’s death in a gun battle with officers. City officials uttered his name just once and said they would not mention it again.

Joseph Scott, an engineering technician with the utilities department, said he had worked with Craddock and had a brief interaction with him Friday, passing him in the men’s restroom about five minutes before the shooting.

“He was in there brushing his teeth, which he always did after he ate,” Scott said. “I said ‘Hey, how you doing? What are you doing this weekend?’ It was just a brief conversation.”

Scott said he left for the day right after and learned of the shooting when a co-worker and then his son called him asking if he was OK.

“I couldn’t believe that it happened,” he said.

One of the dead employees had worked for the city for 41 years. Six worked in the same department as Craddock, though authorities have declined to say if anyone was specifically targeted or if the suspect had issued threats before. The victims were found throughout the building, on three floors, police said.

The municipal building was open to the public, but security passes were required to enter inner offices, conference rooms and other work areas. As a current employee, Craddock would have had the pass to enter the inner offices, Hansen said.

In response to a reporter’s question, Cervera said the gunman had not been fired.

One of the dead, Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan, enjoyed Scottish music and joined a pipe band last fall. He played with the group in October during a Celtic festival in Virginia and marched with bandmates on St. Patrick’s Day.

“Chris was reserved but very friendly, quietly engaging members one-on-one after our weekly practices,” the band, Tidewater Pipes & Drums, said in a statement.

Another victim, Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach, was described as a “super sweet lady” who always had a big smile. “She would always be out there in the yard, working on something and talking to my daughters,” John Cushman, Gayle’s next-door neighbor, told The New York Times.

The other employees who were killed were identified as Tara Welch Gallagher, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Katherine A. Nixon, Ryan Keith Cox, Joshua O. Hardy and Michelle “Missy” Langer, all of Virginia Beach; Laquita C. Brown and Robert “Bobby” Williams, both of Chesapeake; 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.

The police and fire departments were to assign members of their honor guards to help each victim’s family.

Authorities have said Craddock fired indiscriminately. At least three other people who were wounded remained hospitalized Saturday.

Craddock appeared to have had no felony record, making him eligible to purchase guns.

Government investigators identified two .45-caliber pistols used in the attack, said Ashan Benedict, the regional special agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

All indications were that the shooter purchased the weapons legally, one in 2016 and one in 2018, Benedict said. The police chief said at least one had a noise suppressor.

Craddock, 40, graduated from Denbigh High School in nearby Newport News in 1996 and joined the Army National Guard, according to a newspaper clip from the time. He received basic military training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. He later graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Scott said he worked in a different division from Craddock, whom he described as quiet, polite and a “nice guy.” Scott said he thought Craddock was in good standing at work and had never heard negative reports about him.

A handwritten note was posted Saturday at Craddock’s home expressing condolences to the shooting victims on behalf of the suspect’s family.

Hundreds of people attended Saturday prayer vigils for the dead. Scott said he, his wife and several others prayed for the shooter too.

“He was a human too, and his family is hurting too,” Scott said. “He’s not evil ... he was just another guy who had problems.”

Neighbors described Craddock as a car enthusiast and bodybuilder.

Amanda Archer, 22, and Cassetty Howerin, 23, lived in a Virginia Beach townhome beneath Craddock for the past year and only got to know him in passing, exchanging the occasional greeting.

“He wasn’t much of a talker,” Archer recalled. “He’s a mystery to us. He’s a mystery to everybody, apparently.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(29) comments


Maga! Maga-maga-maga! Maga-maga-maga-maga-maga-maga-maga! Maga by the dozen! Maga-maga! It's maga time! Rat-a-tat-a-tat! Bang bang bang! Twelve people dead! Maga-maga-maga! Twenty students dead! It's maga maga time! Bang bang bang! Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat! Maga-maga-maga-maga! Sixty people dead! America gets greater every year! Gotta love them guns!


God Bless the NRA! God Bless the Republicans! Together they make sure any and all have free access to any gun as if guns were candy. Keep them guns flowing, folks! Gotta sell more guns, ammo, large magazines, silencers, semi-auto rifles, handguns of any caliber, any accessory that helps the killers! Forget controls! Forget any process for verification, public trust or public safety! Don't impose any inconvenience at all. Let any kook buy whatever his demented mind demands! That's the NRA way. That's the Republican way. Let anyone die for the right of a kook to shoot them! Keep them guns a movin'!


It is readily apparent that you have never attempted to purchase a firearm FAUX. Your assertion that anyone may purchase a firearm at any time is patently false. Go on down to your local sporting goods store, say Dicks at the FSK Mall, and see what it takes to purchase that firearm. You must truthfully complete the NICS form, which is compliant with 18 USC 922. The store then confirms your responses with the FBI. Any false responses are felonies punishable according to the penalties found in 18 USC 924. You will not leave the store that day with your purchase if it is a pistol because of the waiting period. If you failed the background check, you cannot buy a gun. Unfortunately,
the felony you committed by providing false information on the NICS form is not prosecuted by state or federal authorities.
That needs to change. There is no "gun show loophole" in Maryland, since all purchases at Maryland gun shows go through the NICS system and the FBI. Go to the next show at the Frederick Fairgrounds and try to leave the building with an unchecked purchase. You'll quickly find yourself in handcuffs.


Gabe, you are making some assumptions here. Not all guns are purchased in Maryland. Guns bought from others do not go through the procedures you list. And many guns are 50 or more years old, far older than any of the new regulations. My first gun was bought at age 16, another one later though a magazine, another one from an individual Still others from a store. None with background checks.


You are correct in your statements above Dick. Private sales do not go through the NICS system. However, you are still responsible for complying with the requirements of 18 USC 922. If you sell your gun to someone you know, or should know* to be a person who is not able to possess a firearm, you have committed a felony. The asterisk means that you need to ask them. Will you ask the questions on Form 4473 that could keep you out of prison? I sure would. The authorities need to enforce this.


One of your statements that I neglected to respond to Dick, was the out of state purchase of a firearm. It is illegal, according to 18 USC 922 to sell a firearm to someone that you know, or have reason to know* is from out of state without passing through a Federal Firearms Lincensee in the purchasers home state. The offense is a felony, punishable by 5 years in prison for both the seller and buyer. The FFL will do a background check on the purchaser before handing the firearm over to the purchaser.


gab, anyone of any age can buy any gun for any purpose illegally and anonymously. Illegal guns in the hands of juveniles and convicted criminals and the mentally ill prove that. An illegal gun can be obtained easier and cheaper by a kid in Frederick than a responsible, honest citizen over 21 can. The object of gun regulation is reduce the number of “illegal” guns available, not the legal ones. There should not be any guns that don’t have the name of the person responsible for securing it. Don’t you agree gab?


And what is your solution to the illegal gun situation phy? Force everyone who owns the 350 million+ known legal guns in the US? What do you think the compliance rate will be? I'll go out on a limb and say close to zero. Do you propose that the police go door-to-door and raid everyone's home to look for legally obtained firearms? Good luck with that. What needs to happen is that anyone violating federal or state firearm laws be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. No plea bargains, and no concurrent sentences. 18 USC 922 and 924 spell it out.


RIP. Not one word from the idiot at 1600 or the usual gun loons that nest in the fnp’s comment section. Real stand up ‘people’. Condolences to the families of the lost.


Condolences are about as useful as prayers.


After it happens, what else can you offer?


Banning gun free zones would be useful but it's not about protecting the children. It IS about controlling American citizens


I can only imagine what your comments will look like in 523 days from now when trump wins his second term in a landslide! 🇺🇸


Now you have reached the epitome of being delusional, John.




You are a pretty pathetic nester sam. Not much of a stand up person either. How long have you had a problem with what you really are? All your life? Just wondering?


Sorry if calling out hypocrisy offends your delicate sensibilities, sicko.


Hypocrisy, double standards, projection, deflection and outright lying are the main principals of the dem party. Where have you been? Oh, I forgot, your safe space. My most profound apologies sammy

Comment deleted.

Idiot? You haven't witnessed the gangster way he runs the U.S.? Delusional? Not FP!


You are speaking of the last administration in spades dicky.


Hey Sammy I guess you are comfortable lying every time you post. Try reading or watching something other than MSNBC or CNN. In fact, the president did offer his condolences to the city and relatives.


YES he did, Bunny, and you should be mighty proud, too. Looks like ya got yer braggin' rights on this one, fer sure. He asked his caddy to pull over so he could tweet his condolences while playing golf yesterday at Trump National in Virginia. Too bad he didn't skip his 5 hours on the course and helicopter just down the state to give condolences in person to the grieving families and friends of those 12 who lost their lives. What a selfish and narcissistic grifter you support so blindly. What's more embarrassing.......Trump, or his deplorable supporters, who believe this is the conduct of a "leader"??


Correct me if I'm wrong, but what President has ever done what you are asking?


Like I said.............. What's more embarrassing.......Trump, or his deplorable supporters, who believe this is the conduct of a "leader"??


That wasn't the question. You said the President should have visited the victims of that mass shooting, and I asked what other President has ever done that?


There are many ways to honor, respect, and offer solace to the families of the 12 victims slaughtered in Virginia Beach through yet another tragedy of gun violence. It ain't happening from the golf course upstate. And whether or not another president has been fully present in a time of tragedy (as Obama was at Sandy Hook) the current president will now be in Europe for the next week. A window of opportunity to show respect, empathy and renewed concern over gun violence in America has been lost (or shall we say, chosen???) out of cowardice, narcissism, and ignorance.


Mrs M,


Not True, Sam! He tweeted his condolence from out on the golf course, where he spent 5 hours on Saturday, at Trump National, in Potomac Falls, Virginia. Think about this, particularly all you dug-in, admiring Trump supporters.. He's goes out to play golf in the same state where another gun-tragedy affecting 12 citizens and their families has just occurred. A bankrupt conman and grifter.......with no heart, no empathy, and, at a minimum, virtually NO common sense in the face of human suffering. It's no wonder he, and the silent Republicans who support him, are despised.

Comment deleted.

What utter nonsense. I believe we're talking here about 12 Americans slaughtered in Virginia Beach, while the president took time to tweet his "condolences" in order to not miss his Saturday golf game. Pointless comment from someone who looks like he can no longer defend the indefensible. You "bought" stand up and own it. Talk about disgusting.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.