Mass Shooting Virginia Beach Victims
They were city workers, all but one. They’d worked in public utilities for the City of Virginia Beach from a few months to 41 years. They were of multiple ethnic backgrounds, genders, and ages. One of them was a contractor who was at municipal building 2 to get a permit.
These are the victims of the Virginia Beach mass shooting. They were shot by a disgruntled co-worker who won’t be named in this article; altogether, 12 people lost their lives. A city police officer was also wounded, saved by his vest as the killer fired and fired with a .45 caliber weapon equipped with a silencer. Another four people were undergoing surgery.
Outside of work, they played bagpipes, sang in the church choir, traveled with spouses, and played with grandkids.
This article will be updated until it contains bios of each of the deceased victims. The horrific tragedy broke out on the last day of May, 2019, a Friday, when the gunman strode into the building and indiscriminately opened fire, in the words of police, who eventually shot him to death; he left behind a trail of victims over three floors, and one in a car, said the chief.
“It’s a horrific day for Virginia,” said Gov. Ralph Northam at one of the press conferences authorities held in the wake of the mass shooting. “It’s just a horrific day. Our thoughts are with these victims and their families.”
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.”
On the morning of June 1, police released the victims’ names with photos and biographies. (you can read our previous article rounding up the heroism of victims and survivors in past mass shootings here.)
“I have worked with most of them for many years,” said Dave Hansen, Virginia Beach City Manager. “We want you to know who they were so in the weeks to come you will learn what they meant to all of us, to their friends, to their families, and to their co-workers. They leave a void that we will never be able to fill.”
Officials identify 12 victims of Virginia Beach shooting, who were killed after a gunman opened fire at a municipal building.
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) June 1, 2019
Laquita C. Brown worked in public works for 4.5 years, as a right of way agent. She was from Chesapeake.
Sinda Price left a memorial tribute to Laquita Brown on Facebook. “It still doesn’t feel real. 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,” she wrote.
“Rev 21:4 ‘And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.’ We will see you soon, big sis. ❤ LaQuita Brown.”
On Facebook, LaQuita Brown mostly shared photos of family and travels.
Tara Welch Gallagher worked in public works for 6 years, and was an engineer from Virginia Beach. Gallagher was listed in multiple reports and documents where she described reports on clean water.
She was the public face of the public works for the Lake James Watershed. A 2018 Virginia Beach newsletter announced Tara Gallagher had reached her five-year anniversary with the city of Virginia Beach. She was given a public service award for her five years of service to Virginia Beach.
You can read more about Tara Welch Gallagher’s life here.
Mary Louise Gayle had 24 years in public works as a right-of-way agent and was from Virginia Beach. A former co-worker, Debbie Mazzarell Hubbard, wrote on Facebook, “I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Mary Lou Crutsinger Gayle in the senseless shooting in Virginia Beach yesterday. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and co-workers. We worked together in Virginia Beach for 10 years and I always admired her, she was a very special lady and will truly be missed by many, I know I will miss her Facebook posts showing her love for her family. RIP Mary Lou.”
Mary Gayle is survived by her father, four siblings and three children. She was also a grandmother, her Facebook page says, and she filled it with family photos. For the City of Virginia Beach, Gayle’s specialty was dealing with property and land rights.
You can read more about Mary Louise Gayle here.
Alexander Mikhail Gusev spent 9 years in public works as a right of way agent and was from Virginia Beach.
Katherine A. Nixon, spent 10 years in public utilities as an engineer and was from Virginia Beach. Katherine Nixon went by the name Kate Nixon. She was 42 and was a civil engineer in Virginia Beach for more than 10 years. She was born Katherine Lusich on September 7, 1976, in California. She is survived by her husband, Jason Nixon, and their three daughters, along with her parents and siblings.
You can read more about Katherine Nixon’s life here.
Richard H. Nettleton spent 28 years in public utilities as an engineer and was from Norfolk. He also served in an engineer brigade in Germany.
Nettleton, P.E., was the Design & Construction Manager for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities. Nettleton was also involved in projects for the city including the bikeways and trails plan.
He served in the 130th Engineer Brigade of the United States Army in Germany.
You can read more about Richard H. Nettleson here.
Christopher Kelly Rapp had 11 months in the job as an engineer in public works and was from Powhatan He Was a member of Scottish Band, Tidewater Pumps & Drums.
The band wrote, “We are heartbroken to share the news that our bandmate, Chris Rapp, was one of the victims of Friday’s senseless shooting. Chris recently moved to Virginia Beach and immediately joined the band after learning how to play the bagpipes in Richmond. He was quiet but had a passion for the pipes and Scottish culture. He is pictured here at the 2018 Central Virginia Celtic Festival and Highland Games. Peace be with his wife, Bessie, and their loved ones.”
You can read more about the life of Christopher Rapp here.
Ryan Keith Cox spent 12.5 years in public utilities as an account clerk and was from Virginia Beach.
Michele Day wrote on Facebook:
“So torn to know that this happened in my ‘other’ city. Even more, torn to know that my Virginia Beach pastor’s son is among the dead. I knew Ryan ‘Keith’ Cox for over 30 years. He was a great guy, he was pleasant and always showed me love. We were in the choir together and he could sing! My heart is aching for my VB pastor and his beautiful wife. God, please be with the Cox’s and the other families during this tragic time.”
His brother, Ervin Cox, wrote on Facebook, “My heart is hurting because my baby brother was murdered today by the shooter in Virginia Beach mass shooting. I won’t hear 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.”
You can read more about the life of Ryan Keith Cox here.
Joshua O. Hardy
Joshua O. Hardy worked in public utilities for 4.5 years as an engineering technician and was from Virginia Beach.
Michelle Missy Langer worked in public utilities for 12 years as an administrative assistant and was from Virginia Beach.
According to her LinkedIn page, Missy Langer also had worked as an Administrative Assistant for the City of Virginia Police Department as well as for Public Utilities. She graduated from Beaver Local High School.
Her Facebook page says she was single and a native of Ohio.
Robert Bobby Williams
Robert Bobby Williams worked in public utilities for 41 years as a special projects coordinator and was from Chesapeake.
Herbert Bert Snelling was a contractor from Virginia Beach. He was there to try to fill a permit.
On his Facebook page, which he filled with pictures showing him with his wife, Herbert Bert Snelling went by the name “Bert Snelling.”
His Facebook page says that Bert Snelling went to Green Run High and Floyd Kellam High, lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia,, was from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and was married to Sonja Snelling. He appears to come from a family with a long tradition of carrying the Herbert Bert Snelling name forward. His Facebook page says he became engaged to his wife back in 1980.
Basically, the page is filled with pictures of Bert Snelling and his wife. In 2014, he wrote, “Sonja Snelling and I went to see Gods not dead this morning. I have to say it’s the best movie I’ve seen in a very long time. Definitely a must see.”
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”
In addition to the 12 people who died, four other people are in surgery for their wounds. The wounded police officer is expected to survive and was saved by his vest, said Police Chief James A. Cervera, calling the mass tragedy a “devastating incident…that is going to change the lives of a number of families from our city.”