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Va. Beach Survivor: What Would Possess Someone to Do This?

Victims, gunman identified after 12 died Friday
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2019 9:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – As Virginia Beach tries to make sense of the country's latest mass shooting, which took 12 lives at a municipal building there Friday and injured at least four, more details are trickling out. Officials at a Saturday morning press conference IDed the gunman, who died after being shot by police, as DeWayne Craddock, per the AP—and they say this is the only time we'll hear them call the gunman by his name. Mayor Bobby Dyer calls the shooting "the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach," the state's largest city and a popular vacation destination, the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes. Meanwhile, a local whose husband works in the building next to City Hall where the shooting took place and survived the tragedy says what happened is "unbelievable." "By and large, it's a pretty calm and peaceful place to live," a shocked Cheryl Benn says. More on this story:

  • The 12 victims were IDed at the Saturday morning presser, and 11 of the 12 were city employees who worked for either the Department of Public Works or the Department of Public Utilities, per the Washington Post and WRAL. The last victim was said to be a contractor. Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted a list of the victims' names. "They leave a void we will never be able to fill," City Manager Dave Hansen told reporters.
  • Meanwhile, more on Craddock, a 40-year-old who police Chief James Cervera said engaged in a "long gunbattle" with cops before he was fatally shot, per CNN. Craddock was said to be a certified professional engineer with the public utilities department, and a 1996 news report noted he'd served in the Army National Guard. His record on first search seems to be mostly clean, with just a 2013 motor vehicle infraction.
  • Law enforcement officials tell the Wall Street Journal Craddock was a disgruntled employee bent on revenge, noting that he'd been accumulating firearms in recent weeks. The .45 handgun and rifle he used were legally purchased.

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  • One survivor made an emotional on-camera appearance, via the Washington Post, to talk about her experience. "We heard there was an active shooter and we just barricaded ourselves in offices to make sure we were all safe," Megan Banton says. "We kept hearing gunshots and we kept hearing the cops say, 'Get down!' ... I don't know what would possess somebody to just come in and just start shooting at people."
  • Love, shock, and anger were all reactions to the shooting that poured out from both national and local politicians, per Fox News. "This is a tragic day for Virginia Beach and our entire Commonwealth," Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted. Sen. Tim Kaine said he was "devastated." Presidential candidates Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, and Joe Biden were among those extending their sympathies, with some renewing calls for better gun control. A White House spokesperson says President Trump has been briefed on the shootings, though he's made no public comments yet, per Today.
  • Celebrities and other notables, including Apple's Tim Cook, Katie Couric, and George Takei, also weighed in, per Fox and ET Online. "We are resilient. We will not only get through this but we’ll come out of this stronger than before we always do," Pharrell Williams tweeted.
  • President Trump also responded on Twitter, saying he spoke to top Virginia officials Saturday "to offer condolences to that great community. The Federal Government is there, and will be, for whatever they may need. God bless the families and all!"
(Read more Virginia Beach shooting stories.)

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