Virginia Beach shooter notified boss of plans to leave job

The city manager said the mass shooting gunman was not forced to resign.

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By Tim Stelloh and Associated Press

A city engineer in Virginia Beach who killed 12 people in a shooting rampage at work had submitted his resignation letter earlier that day, a city official said Sunday.

Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen said DeWayne Craddock, 40, sent his two-weeks notice in an email Friday morning.

Hansen said Craddock, who had worked with the city's utilities department for 15 years and died in a gun battle with police, was not forced to resign nor did he appear to be quitting because he had applied for another job but was not hired.

Hansen was asked in a news conference Sunday whether Craddock had explained in the email why he was quitting.

"We are determining where that letter is," he said, adding that one of the victims killed was Craddock's supervisor, but he did not provide further details.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said investigators were looking as "deep as we can" into Craddock's personal and professional life to figure out a motive.

Four of the injured were in critical condition Sunday, according to Sentara Healthcare.

"Critical condition suggests all these patients are in ICUs and medically fragile," Sentara said in a statement.

Of the city employees killed, 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.

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

One of the victims, 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.

The other employees killed were 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.

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 inside a municipal building 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."

Another employee, account clerk Terry Inman, recalled coming face-to-face with Craddock during the rampage.

Inman, who worked with Craddock in the public utilities department, said he turned around and saw Craddock standing inside the building with a gun on Friday afternoon.

When Inman said he shouted at Craddock to stop, the gunman looked straight at him but didn't raise his weapon or make any other gesture to indicate he actually saw Inman or anyone else.

After Craddock left the room, Inman and co-worker Ned Carlstrom heard gunshots again. They think that was when their friend and co-worker, Ryan Keith Cox, was killed.

Authorities have said the shooter fired indiscriminately.

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 graduated from Denbigh High School in nearby Newport News in 1996 and joined the Virginia Army National Guard. He was discharged in 2002. 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 the Craddock family home expressing condolences to the shooting victims on behalf of his family.

Speaking at a vigil Sunday, pastor Luther Allen pleaded with political leaders and activists to break the cycle of mass shootings.

"We are tired of the same old same old of violence and outcry and prayer and back to the same old thing again," he said. "God, we need something different and we need it right now.

"As you go back to the municipal center on Monday, as you go back to Richmond on Monday, go back with the agenda and go be forewarned that November is coming," he continued. "And we shall remember May 31st, 2019, and what you do between now and November will let us know if you're still truly on our side. God bless you."

Chloe Tsang and Mosheh Gains contributed.