BEACH, VIRGINIA After nearly four months of waiting and, at times, demanding answers about what motivated a Virginia Beach massacre, the families of 12 people gunned down in May at a municipal center received almost none from police on Tuesday night.
Deputy Chief Patrick L. Gallagher stated that the investigation has been ongoing for 116 days during a presentation to the city council.Every one of those days, we asked ourselves, Why? How did this suspect do what he did? he asked. We are still investigating a motive.
Police have conducted 757 interviews and analyzed thousands of emails and online documents. However, they still don’t know what prompted city engineer DeWayne Craddock to open fire, killing a dozen people and injuring four more, all but one of whom was a coworker.
Evidence against Dewayne
Police have found no evidence that Dewayne Craddock suffered from financial stressors or health problems or that he sought mental-health treatment, even though their investigation will take another six to nine months to complete. They discovered no evidence of threatening encounters or physical altercations with his coworkers.
Many of those we interviewed described him as quiet, polite, a nice guy, and a good listener, Gallagher said, drawing scoffs from some victims’ family members.Craddock, who had been with the city for nine years, started his day on May 31, a Friday, in the same way he always did he arrived at the municipal center at 7:16 a.m. went to his desk, and checked his email.
In retrospect, the first hint of what was to come that day came around 10 a.m., when Dewayne Craddock searched the Internet for maps of Building 2 and the municipal center. Craddock, 40, emailed his bosses an unremarkable resignation letter at 10:31 a.m. According to an unredacted email obtained by The Washington Post, one of them accepted it 15 minutes later, informing Craddock of his last day.
He went to several job sites with two of his coworkers in the afternoon, police said, returning to the office shortly before 3:30 p.m. Craddock sent a job-related email at 3:55 p.m., just minutes before he started shooting.
Then, as the work week came to an end, Craddock armed himself in his car with a pair of.45-caliber handguns, at least one of which had a sound suppressor and an extended magazine.He first assassinated a contractor in the parking lot outside Building 2 of Virginia Beach’s sprawling municipal complex, a collection of government offices just east of a golf course.
He then fatally shot a woman on her way out and used his government badge to gain access to the second floor, where he continued his rampage.Officers approached Dewayne Craddock to arrest him after what Gallagher described as a horrific gun battle with police. He’d been shot, but he was still conscious and kicking when officers found him on the other side of a door where he’d exchanged fire.
He was fighting with us when we took him into custody, Gallagher said. Nonetheless, he added, officers did their best to provide Craddock with first aid.He explained, We wanted to save his life. That did not occur.
Evaluation of Craddock
According to police, Craddock, who was hired as an engineer in 2010, received positive evaluations from his bosses until 2017, the year of his divorce, when he was placed on a “performance improvement plan.He received a written reprimand from a supervisor in 2018 for his job performance and was given an “Improvement Required” evaluation.
Dewayne was expected to receive a satisfactory performance evaluation in 2019, according to Gallagher. However, Gallagher stated that Craddock had a disagreement with the city’s purchasing department shortly before the shooting, without elaborating on the nature of the conflict. According to the police briefing, two of Craddock’s supervisors sided with Craddock in that dispute.
Craddock had become estranged from his family following his divorce, according to Gallagher. He was described by relatives as “introverted,” “paranoid,” and “uncomfortable around people.” He had five legally purchased guns and had ordered body armor, which did not arrive in time for the shooting.
City Manager Dave Hansen, who has since resigned, announced two days after the attack that a thorough review of the gunman’s personnel file revealed no issues. According to Hansen, the perpetrator’s performance was satisfactory, and Craddock was in good standing within his department. There were no disciplinary issues at the time.
Those comments infuriated some victims’ relatives, including Jason Nixon, who claimed that his wife, Kate, had “written up” the gunman for poor performance. According to her husband, Kate, a compliance manager in the public utility department, had also called Craddock a chauvinist who disrespected her because she was a woman and outranked him.