No motive found in mass shooting in Virginia Beach, final investigative report says

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Almost two years after a city worker committed a mass murder at a city building, investigators have closed their investigation without answering the question: Why is it all happening? is it produced?

In a nearly 50-page report released Wednesday, the Virginia Beach Police Department concluded that “despite extensive investigative work and despite rumors and unfounded accusations, it seems like we can never be able to explain why [the shooter] committed this heinous act.

It was on May 31, 2019 that utility engineer DeWayne Craddock, 40, shot and killed 12 people and seriously injured four others at building 2 of the city’s municipal center before being killed in a shootout with the police.

Since then, VBPD detectives have conducted more than 1,000 contacts and interviews with individuals, analyzed more than 10 terabytes of digital evidence, and examined 504 physical evidence with assistance from the FBI.

No reason

Still, police don’t have much additional information on why Craddock may have done what he did. The final summary recaps much of what was revealed almost one year ago in the VBPD interim report.

The report – which only names Craddock once, following a promise made by then-police chief Jim Cervera on the night of the shooting – explains that Craddock was described as a “calm young man. , introverted and polite ”.

“The evidence is clear that the suspect was a very private person who shared little personal information or feelings with his colleagues,” the report concludes.

Craddock worked for nine years with the city and sent a resignation letter to his superior on the morning of the shooting who simply said he was resigning for “personal reasons”.

Less than a year before the shooting, Craddock received an employee assessment that stated “he was not meeting the expectations of his job requirements.” As a result, he did not receive a merit pay raise that year.

As the city’s independent investigative team first revealed, following this assessment, Craddock wrote to his supervisor that “he was placed on a different level of review than his peers”.

The report says the concern was specifically addressed by his supervisor in 2018 and Craddock was told he had made improvements and received encouragement.

Closer to the set, Craddock once again had to interact with management after a supply issue arose. Current Police Chief Paul Neudigate said he couldn’t just say Craddock was motivated to kill because of what happened at work.

“We’re not dealing with ‘probable’ and I think that’s the problem,” Neudigate said. “We need specific facts and circumstances that guide us to what’s on that individual’s mind. It’s hard for the police, it’s hard for anyone to tell you what’s on your mind and what motivated your actions.

A copy of the conclusion of the report.

Neudigate, who was working in Cincinnati at the time of the tragedy, said he could confidently say that no stone had been overlooked to find a concrete “why” behind the shooting.

No manifesto was ever found, and Craddock acted alone.

It only remains to look on an electronic tablet belonging to Craddock. It is password protected and remains inaccessible after the VBPD, Virginia State Police, and FBI cannot access it.

“Is that the smoking gun, is it on that shelf?” Neudigate asked. “In five years, if they develop a technology that could get us into this tablet, we will definitely resubmit the tablet and get in there because we are as curious as the community about what’s on it.”

The family speaks out

In a cover letter to Jason Nixon, husband of Kate Nixon shooting victimCity Manager Patrick Duhaney said that “although this report details the events of that day, unfortunately no evidence has been found to shed light on the shooter’s motives.”

Duhaney admitted that for Nixon and the families of the other victims “this is one of the most difficult conclusions to accept.” He says that “investigators deliberately and methodically processed the evidence, conducted interviews, carried out tests and tested theories” in the case.

“I think the report is rubbish,” Nixon told 10 On Your Side. “It’s the same thing that was back with the PowerPoint presentation. It’s the exact same PowerPoint presentation.

Nixon – who has openly criticized the city after the shooting – said the department should be ashamed of not finding a motive.

Nixon says his wife, Kate, saw a different side to the shooter.

“She talked about him… that he was a psychopath. That he had problems. That she didn’t like being with him, ”Nixon said.

Since Kate’s death, Nixon has been active in Richmond in successfully lobbying the General Assembly on issues such as the Freedom of Information Act by opening criminal investigation files relating to criminal investigations which are not in progress. This would possibly include the investigation into the mass shootings of May 31, 2019.

“They shouldn’t have the power to tell me what I can see and what I can’t see. They gave me a summary of that, ”Nixon said, holding up the summary of the 36-page report on Wednesday.

“I want to sit down and see the full report,” he said.

The Open Investigative Records Bill is now awaiting the signature of Governor Ralph Northam.

In the meantime, Nixon says he wants to recover the property he lost during the investigation.

“I want to get my wife’s things back. I want to get his iPad back, I want to get my personal belongings back, they’ve had it for two years, ”he said.

Nixon says he will sit down with Virginia Beach Police to ask questions about the summary of the investigation. He also pointed out that there would be some rules.

This meeting was originally scheduled for March 31, but was postponed and rescheduled for April 14.

“I asked if I could bring a lawyer and they said no. I asked who can I bring and they said two family members. I asked if this meeting was going to be recorded, and they said no, ”he said.

The summary of the report released on Wednesday also concludes that there is no evidence from those interviewed that the shooter was on the verge of rampage.

“This is what we want. We want responsibility. I want to make sure that the human resources department will be held accountable for the actions or lack of actions of direct superiors and that they will be held accountable, ”Nixon said.

Nixon says other families feel the same way.

On a personal note, with only memories of a united family, now Nixon – almost two years later – lives in a void that sometimes consumes him.

We asked a simple question: how are you?

“I really feel empty. I feel like there’s a void in my life, and I don’t know how [fill] that, ”he said.

To advance

Duhaney, who was also not living in the town or leading it at the time of the shooting, said he had prioritized helping with the healing process.

“Employers these days need to be as vigilant as possible to ensure that if toxic environments are identified, we take the appropriate steps to eliminate and correct them,” said Duhaney, acknowledging from what he said. saw, no generalized toxic environment existed at the time of the shooting. .

Still, he recommended following the recommendations of independent investigators.

Duhaney is hoping city council will agree to hire six new employees to help centralize human resources in the city.

The Hillard Heintz report said the city’s current HR structure requires that HR liaison in certain departments report to the director of that department, sometimes creating perceived conflicts.

In the future, each city department would have its own human resources coordinator reporting to the main human resources department.

Funding is also included to continue counseling services to those most affected.

“I’m committed to putting the tools in place to help us become a better employer,” said Duhaney.

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