VA Special Session for New Gun Laws, Shooter's Resignation Letter Released (Update)

Jun 4, 2019

Governor Ralph Northam (D-VA)
Credit Northam campaign website

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is calling for a special legislative session on gun control and is insisting that his proposals be voted on by the entire state legislature. He says Friday's killings in Virginia Beach call for "votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers."
 The Democrat says his package will include the same measures that state lawmakers have killed in subcommittees before. They include universal background checks, a ban on silencers and bump stocks, a 'red flag' mechanism to remove guns from extremely high risk people, child protection measures, and a requirement that gun owners report lost or stolen weapons.
 He says first responders were on the crime scene within two minutes after a Virginia Beach city worker opened fire inside a government building, and yet 12 people were killed. Now he's calling on lawmakers to become "second responders" and "put a stop to this violence."
 Meanwhile, a top gun rights advocate in Virginia says Gov. Ralph Northam's plan for a special legislative session on gun control is "political theater."
 Philip Van Cleave is president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. He says he "can't think of a single gun control thing that would have prevented what happened at Virginia Beach," and accuses the governor of "trying to deflect from his recent foibles."
The gun lobbyist said it's "pure baloney" that silencers mask sound of gun shots.   
His solution to Friday's killings of 12 people would be loosening restrictions on Virginia Beach city employees from being able to carry concealed handguns at work. He says "there's really nothing other than allowing people to protect themselves until the police get there that would have worked."
 
Resignation Letter

DeWayne Craddock
Credit Photo ID

Officials in Virginia Beach have released the brief resignation letter that was submitted by the man who police say fatally shot 12 people at the municipal building where he worked.

It gives no hint about what he planned to do or why.

DeWayne Craddock's partially redacted resignation letter was released Monday. He said it "has been a pleasure to serve the city, but due to personal reasons I must relieve my position."

The 40-year-old wrote that he wanted to "officially put in my (2) weeks' notice" and vacate his position of "Engineer III with the City of Virginia Beach."

An unidentified person responded stating that he or she hoped that Craddock is able to resolve his personal issues and that Craddock's last day would be Friday June 14.

Craddock responded, writing "Thank you. Yes, that is correct."

A city official in Virginia Beach says the resignation email the gunman sent hours before the shooting at a municipal building was brief, unremarkable and didn't contain anything that foreshadowed the upcoming violence that would kill 12 people.

City Communications Director Julie Hill says the resignation letter is now part of the investigation and must be cleared by detectives for public release.

Officials have given no indication why 40-year-old Craddock notified a superior of his intention to leave his job. City Manager Dave Hansen says he was an employee "in good standing."

The shooting began sometime later.

Survivors

Credit creative commons

Holding back tears, a survivor of the Virginia shooting that killed 12 people says her colleague saved her and others before being fatally shot.

Christi Dewar says colleague Ryan Keith Cox barricaded several people into a room as the gunman started shooting Friday at the Virginia Beach Municipal complex where she works.

Dewar says Cox told employees to get against the wall and "stay still, stay quiet."

Dewar says Cox headed toward the sound of gunshots to try to save other people when he was killed. When police rescued the group of huddled women, one woman shrieked that Cox was down.

Dewar calls Cox a guardian angel and says she is grateful for his selfless act.

City Employees Return

Virginia Beach City Manager David Hansen
Credit official photo

Hundreds of city employees are streaming into the Virginia Beach Convention Center in a somber gathering three days after a gunman opened fire in a municipal building, killing 12 people.

The private gathering Monday was for employees only. Two city firetrucks are parked outside the convention center. One has a huge American flag hanging from a ladder.

Michelle Walz is a supervisor in the city's Parks Department. He says City Manager David Hansen spoke to employees and told them that they will stick together and work through the tragedy as a "family."

The city is making a large number of counselors available for employees.

Signs of Shooting

Signs of the shooting that killed 12 people can still be seen at a complex of government buildings in Virginia Beach.

At one entrance to the municipal center stands a makeshift memorial made up of bouquets, flags, teddy bears and crosses bearing the names of the shooting's victims. A small group of city employees were crying and hugging each other on Monday as they left flowers by one of the crosses.

Volunteers with comfort dogs were on hand.

A section of the compound is still blocked off by law enforcement vehicles and FBI personnel could be seen walking around.