Updated at 11:04 p.m. ET
Friday night’s shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach killed 12 people. Most were city employees with a length of service ranging from 11 months to 41 years.
“They leave a void that we will never be able to fill,” City Manager Dave Hansen said Saturday morning.
Officials identified the shooter as DeWayne Craddock, 40, a 15-year public utilities engineer, who was a current employee at the time of the shooting. He died after what Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera called a “long-term large gunfight” with police officers.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff over the state Capitol and called for all local, state and federal buildings to honor the victims. Flags will remain lowered until the evening of Saturday, June 8.
City officials named the 12 people who were killed in the shooting. Here’s what we’ve learned about them so far:
Christopher Kelly Rapp, of Powhatan, an engineer with Public Works for 11 months
In a statement to NPR, Jim Roberts, the manager of Tidewater Pipes & Drums, a bagpipe band in Virginia, said Rapp had recently joined the music group. Rapp marched with the band as recently as St. Patrick’s Day, and Roberts said, “Chris was reserved but very friendly, quietly engaging members one on one after our weekly practices. Even though we didn’t have time to get to know him better, we shared a love for music that created an immediate bond.”
Bandmates of Rapp said they are “heartbroken” in a Facebook post. “He was quiet but had a passion for the pipes and Scottish culture,” the post read.
Ryan Keith Cox of Virginia Beach, an account clerk with Public Utilities for more than 12 years
Cox’s father, E. Ray Cox Sr., is the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach.
Cox’s older brother, Ervin, posted on Facebook, “My heart is hurting because my baby brother was murdered today by the shooter in Virginia Beach mass shooting. I won’t hears his beautiful singing voice at church or home anymore. I loved my brother and will truly miss his caring soul. Until we meet again in heaven.”
Laquita C. Brown of Chesapeake, Va., a right of way agent with Public Works for more than four years
Photos on Brown’s Facebook page show her love of travel, with images from trips she took to Paris and New York. She was also a fan of football, especially the Baltimore Ravens and the Florida State University Seminoles.
Sinda Prince, who lives in Virginia Beach, mourned the loss of Brown, her friend, in a Facebook post.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” she wrote. “I can’t believe she’s gone…. She was one of those people who just lit up a room. Every room… And now that light is gone, and my heart can’t stop hurting.”
Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach, a right of way agent with Public Works for 24 years
Mary Louise Gayle had been looking forward to a family trip to Portland later this month, reports The Washington Post.
It was planned around an event where she’d accept a national award for her public works achievements.
Her two children — Matthew Gayle, 33, and Sarah Leonard, 37 — were also looking forward to treating her to a belated birthday celebration, her son Matthew told The Post.
Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach, a right-of-way agent with Public Works for nine years
Alexander Gusev, an immigrant from Belarus, earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Old Dominion University after attending community college, reports The Virginian-Pilot.
His longtime friend, Igor Musin, told the paper of Gusev’s selflessness and generosity, describing him as “a good friend.” Musin said that Gusev had hoped to get married and have children one day.
Konstantin Akhrem , who became close with Gusev after the two met at a professional conference, called Gusev “a model professional” in an emotional interview with The Pilot.
Katherine A. Nixon of Virginia Beach, an engineer with Public Utilities for 10 years
Katherine Nixon came from a family of civil engineers, her grandmother, Claudia Blodget, told The Washington Post.
Shelby O’Regan Acevedo of Virginia Beach told The Pilot, “She was smart as a whip. She helped any way she could.”
“She loved her husband unconditionally, and always stood up for what was right,” Acevedo said. “She was a ray of sunlight that led so many in the right direction. She was selfless, smart and, most of all, a loving mother.”
Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk, Va., an engineer with Public Utilities for 28 years
Richard Nettleton was a veteran who had served as a lieutenant in the 130th engineer brigade in Germany.
Dwight Farmer, a former executive director of the Hampton Roads District Planning Commission, where Nettleton had served on a committee, told the Virginian-Pilot that Nettleton was a dedicated leader who brought a calming presence.
“You couldn’t ask for a better human being,” Farmer said. “It was never about him.”
Joshua Hardy of Virginia Beach, an engineering tech resident with Public Utilities for more than four years
Joshua Hardy, a former deacon, worked for the city of Norfolk, his hometown, for about 20 years before moving to Virginia Beach, his niece, Tasha Milteer, 32, told The Washington Post.
Milteer, who was one of Hardy’s six nieces, told The Post that she considered her uncle as more of a father figure growing up.
“He was just the funny one,” Milteer said.
Michelle “Missy” Langer of Virginia Beach, an administrative assistant with Public Utilities for 12 years
Originally from Ohio, Michelle “Missy” Langer moved to Virginia Beach, where she enjoyed childhood family vacations, her brother Fred Langer told The Virginian Pilot.
“She loved the beach,” her sister-in-law, Kim Langer, told the New York Post. “She was a very bright and bubbly person that loved life.”
Herbert “Bert” Snelling of Virginia Beach, a contractor who was filing a permit when the shooting occurred
Alton Hill, who lived next door to Herbert “Bert” Snelling for 14 years, told The Virginian Pilot that he was the ideal neighbor, always quick to offer help.
“He was just always there,” said Hill, who knew Snelling as someone who would happily climb a roof to help fix a loose shingle.
Tara Welch Gallagher of Virginia Beach, an engineer with Public Works for six years
According to The Virginian-Pilot, the closed Facebook group page of “I am a Portsmouth Va. Native,” identifies Tara Gallagher as a graduate of Old Dominion University, where she earned a degree in civil engineering, and a master’s in engineering in 2003.
Gallagher and her husband, an architect named Patrick, had been raising their son, who was just 22 months old, The Washington Post reports.
“Most of our time was spent fixing the house and raising our son. It was all she lived for,” Patrick Gallagher said. “She was everything to me.”
Robert “Bobby” Williams of Chesapeake, a special projects coordinator with Public Utilities for 41 years
Robert “Bobby” Williams was the longest-serving employee killed in the shooting.
He had a lot of institutional knowledge, wrote a co-worker, Brent Werlein, in a Facebook post that paid tribute to some of his deceased colleagues.
“We would talk and discuss ways to try and solve issues in the sanitary sewer system,” Werlein said.
Williams was hoping to retire at some point this year so he could spend more time with family.