Suspect Shooter DeWayne Craddock Biography
DeWayne Craddock, a public utility engineer whose name frequently appeared on city notices, was named as the mass shooter who opened fire “indiscriminately” at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, killing 12 people and wounding others, in the nation’s latest horrific active shooter event.
The Wall Street Journal and CNN reported that Craddock was the shooter; Heavy confirmed the name through police scanner audio, which you can listen to later in this article (be forewarned that it is very disturbing). Officers named DeWayne Craddock as the shooter to dispatchers early on in their response. Craddock, who worked for the city of Virginia Beach, previously served in the Army National Guard, and he was a 1996 graduate of Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia, according to an old Daily Press newspaper article.
The scene inside Building 2 was a frightening one; police scanner traffic chronicled how officers rushed to rescue victims, including at least one shot in the face, found survivors hiding throughout the complex, and worked to neutralize the suspect, who was still firing through a door. Authorities praised the heroism of a wounded officer and other first responders.
You can watch the latest police press conference here. “It’s a horrific day for Virginia,” said Gov. Ralph Northam. “It’s just a horrific day. Our thoughts are with these victims and their families.” The gunman used a .45 caliber handgun with a silencer and multiple extended magazines, the police chief said. The shooter and officers engaged in a lengthy “gun battle.”
In a press conference, the governor stressed that more might have lost their lives without the quick response of law enforcement officers and medics. “Their actions likely saved lives,” he said. They have seen injuries and scenes “no one should have to face,” he said. The mayor called it Virginia Beach’s “darkest hour.” The scene was active for so long that local journalists reported hearing gunshots when they arrived.
ever thought this would happen in my building. The people who were shot — I’m sure I know most of them,” reporter Gordon Rago quoted civil engineer Arthur Felton as saying. Felton told Rago that a coworker saw “a woman at the bottom of the stairwell leading up to the second floor who appeared to have been shot. The woman had blood all around her. By the time they got outside, they heard sirens.”
Initially, the chief said there were 11 deceased victims, but he later said another person had died. There may be more wounded people who transported themselves to the hospital, and injury counts have ranged up to 10 and conflicted even among authorities. Information technology, planning, a printing operation, and utilities are housed in building 2, and it has the potential of having 400 workers there at any given time, said the chief.
One chilling witness account described how shots were being fired in a public utilities area, when a supervisor rushed in. The supervisor told workers, “This isn’t a drill,” so they ran and hid in a room, hearing muffled shots echoing outside, NBC 12 reported. The suspect was described as someone “known to people inside that building,” according to the television station. One witness saw a police officer covered in blood at the scene. “Officer hit, officer hit!” an officer said on the scanner as dispatch reports memorialized the urgency and terror.
Here’s what you need to know:
DeWayne Craddock Was a ‘Disgruntled Employee’ & Some Reports Say He Was
The shooter was a “disgruntled employee” bent on revenge, news reports from NBC12 and the Wall Street Journal said, although the specific motive was not detailed by police. According to CNN, Craddock’s title was “certified professional engineer for the city of Virginia Beach in the Public Utilities Department.” The police chief painted a disturbing scene of Craddock entering the municipal center and randomly shooting people. The law enforcement response was quick, but, initially, that didn’t deter Craddock.
A Virginia Beach police officer was shot and “saved by his vest,” said the police chief, as Craddock continued to fire.
Shortly after 4 p.m. on May 31, 2019, the suspect, a long-time public utilities employee, entered and began to “indiscriminately fire on all the victims,” the chief said. He was a “current employee,” and the shooting occurred over multiple floors, said the chief.
However, the Wall Street Journal and other outlets continued to report that DeWayne Craddock had been terminated, perhaps recently. The newspaper reported that Craddock returned to municipal building 2 to “exact revenge.”
Officers responded to building 2. They secured as many of the victims as they could. “The suspect did shoot a police officer. Officers returned fire. Suspect is deceased. The scene is secure,” said the police chief.
DeWayne Craddock’s employment status is confirmed by numerous city notices listing him as a public works contact person.
Some people on Twitter were sharing information about the shooter’s political affiliation; however, the credible source on that (Virginia state government registration records) requires a partial social security number, so it could not be confirmed. There is no evidence of political motive.
In July 2018, the City of Virginia Beach published an article that suggested people contact “DeWayne Craddock with Virginia Beach Public Utilities.” The article was about utility work affecting local traffic. There are many such city notices with his name listed.
“ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION-municipal center, building 2. Multiple injuries. At this time it is believed that only 1 shooter, and they have been taken into custody. More to follow,” Virginia Beach police reported on Twitter in their first report.
Here’s the archived scanner audio. Be aware that it’s deeply troubling as it captures officers’ first, and urgent, reports from the scene. “Where is the shooter isolated at?” an officer asked at one point on the scanner, as officers rushed in to neutralize the situation. They discussed “bringing casualties out a side door.”
Gordon Rago, the Virginian Pilot reporter, wrote on Twitter, “Frantic scene here. A woman I just talked to was waiting outside building 1 in her car where city manager, city clerk and city attorneys offices are. Her daughter was inside paying a parking ticket when the shooting happened.”
He continued, “She didn’t hear gunshots. Building 2 is further up the road. The woman… was parked along the main road when she saw SWAT teams running up the street. One yelled at her to get out of her car. Before that, she saw a man in a green shirt and khakis with blood on his shirt, pants and face. He had a badge on, and a cop was walking with him. Unsure of extent of his injuries.”
Craddock, Who Made Multiple Recent Firearms Purchases, Once Gave Chamber of Commerce Workers a Building Tour
Craddock made “multiple” firearms purchases in recent weeks, The Wall Street Journal reported. A search of online court records for Virginia Beach did not turn up any criminal cases for Craddock. No obvious social media sites were apparent for him. According to CNN, law enforcement sources say Craddock legally purchased the weapons.
Old newspaper articles indicate he was sometimes the public face of the city utility department.
According to the Lake Gaston Gazette, in 2015, DeWayne Craddock gave Chamber of Commerce board members a tour of the Virginia Beach Pumping Station.
“Recently, Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce board members took a tour of the facility led by Dwayne Craddock, City of Virginia Beach project manager,” the article said. Other articles, including from the city itself, give his name as DeWayne Craddock, though, not Dwayne Craddock.
Craddock was quoted in the article. “The pumping station is the biggest thing you see,” he said, adding, “It’s a continual mowing operation.” The article says that Chamber President/CEO Christina Wells asked Craddock “if the city ever subleases Lake Gaston water to other areas,” to which he responded, “We would never pull water out and sell it to someone else. The way it works is Norfolk (where the water treatment facility is located) tells us how much to pump and we pump it to them.”
In 2016, DeWayne Craddock was a speaker at a local civic group’s meeting. He was described as “project manager, city Public Utilities Department, speaking on the new 48th Street pump station.”
His name also appeared on a 2014 city public works notice as a point of contact. Online records show him with an address in Virginia Beach.
Craddock Was Once Described as Having ‘Engineering Experience as a Project Engineer’
A 2008 article in the Newport Daily Press reported that DeWayne A. Craddock had been hired to the site planning and engineering team for a local company.
“Craddock has engineering experience as a project engineer for site design, stormwater management, and public and private utility design,” the announcement stated.
He ran in a local 5K and his name appears in city notices for a neighborhood website.
All of that is a far cry from what police say Craddock did inside Building 2.
“We have citizens bringing a casualty out now,” authorities said on the scanner. They referred to a “barricade situation.” They also referred to “victims who are either ambulatory or alive.” A gunshot victim needed a medic in a stairwell. Authorities indicated on the scanner that they were on the second floor from where the suspect was hiding at one point.
It was a scene of horrors and, when it came to the response, bravery.
Craddock Entered the Army National Guard After High School, Reports Say
he old newspaper article, from 1996, says this of Craddock, referring to him as DeWayne Hamilton: “Army National Guard Pvt. DeWayne Hamilton, son of Vestere O. Craddock and former ward of James H. Craddock of Newport News, has arrived at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla., to begin one station unit training. He is a 1996 graduate of Denbigh High School, Newport News.” CNN confirmed that this was the same person as the DeWayne Craddock who is the mass shooter. Online records reviewed by Heavy also show Craddock linked to Vestere.
Craddock’s mother’s Facebook page indicates the family has roots in North Carolina. Old newspaper clippings show she posted multiple classified ads on behalf of a realty. Her recent Facebook posts are about travels to places like Miami, a jazz festival, and the African-American history museum in Washington D.C. There weren’t any publicly visible photos of her son on her page.
Kofo Lasaki, a reporter for WTKR-TV, wrote on Twitter on the late afternoon of May 31, 2019: “BREAKING: Police say they are working an active incident at the Virginia Beach Courthouse. The courthouse is on lockdown and officers are out with their guns drawn @WTKR3.”
People reported a flurry of law enforcement activity. “Just passed 15 cop cars headed to courthouse on Princess Anne rd.. nice,” wrote one person on Twitter.
“There is a shooter still shooting through a door,” wrote another. She also wrote: “AVOID THE COURTHOUSE AREA AT ALL COSTS. There’s an active shooter situation occurring right now and all of the cops in Virginia Beach are flying down Nimmo Parkway.”
Craddock Is a Graduate of Old Dominion University, According to an Old Newspaper Article
Newport Daily Press article reported that “Craddock is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering.”
NBC12 reporter Eric Perry wrote on Twitter that the situation was initially so active that journalists at the scene could hear gunshots. “Hearing reports of a possible active shooter situation at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. We are monitoring the situation. Reporters on scene say they are hearing gunshots,” he wrote. He said, contrary to other reports, that the shooting situation was “NOT the COURTHOUSE but in Building 2.” You can see a map of the complex here.
“We are still actively clearing the building for victims and secondary suspects,” an officer said on the scanner. However, it’s believed that Craddock acted alone.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 31, 2019
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