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ODU finishes campus memorial dedicated to Virginia Beach mass shooting victims

After breaking ground in October 2019, ODU said it finally put the finishing touches on its Virginia Beach Monarch Memorial on campus.

NORFOLK, Va. — Sitting in the middle of ODU's campus, families and friends of the victims, as well as students, will now find a special memorial dedicated to the victims of the 2019 Virginia Beach mass shooting.

The memorial is located at Bugg Plaza, between the Batten Arts and Letters Building and Perry Libraries. It's tucked into a small garden area with benches for people to sit. 

In the middle sits a fountain and sticking out from the fountain are 12 rays of mosaic art. 

Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management, Mike Brady, said it's been a long-time coming for the university. Brady said they wanted to mimic the symbol of the sun on the Virginia Beach city seal. Each mosaic a different color, some blue and others yellow. Four smaller pieces stick out to represent the four injured in the shooting.

RELATED: Ways to remember and honor 12 lives lost in 2019 Virginia Beach mass shooting

"We wanted to provide something for the family members as well as the community in the area here to somehow pay respects to commemorate those," said Brady. "We believe it was really key for healing."

These are six of the 12 victims that attended ODU:

  • Tara Welch Gallagher, BS in Civil Engineering 2002, Master of Engineering 2003
  • Alexander Gusev, BS in Civil Engineering, 2016
  • Richard H. Nettleton, BS in Business Administration, 1994
  • Christopher Kelly Rapp, BS in Civil Engineering, 1994
  • Ryan Keith Cox, former student
  • Mary Louise Gayle, former student

Each victim is represented by a different color from the others.

Some have stopped by to pay their respects, even to leave behind messages of remembrance. Brady said finishing the memorial gave the university a way to share its grief with the community.

"It's something for the students as well as for the family to continue to know that their loved ones will continue to be remembered for years to come," said Brady.

Brady said families of the victims were notified when they finished building the memorial to give them another place to remember their loved ones. ODU said it hopes to have a ceremony soon to officially welcome the finished installation of the memorial.

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