VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Author's note: the attached video is on file from May 28, 2021.
The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission posthumously awarded Ryan Keith Cox, who was killed in the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting, with a medal for civilian heroism.
The Pittsburgh-based commission, which was founded more than 100 years ago by steel industrialist Andrew Carnegie, recognizes people in the United States and Canada for civilian acts of heroism.
Cox, an account clerk, earned the award by protecting his coworkers on May 31, 2019. That's when a disgruntled employee opened fire on people in Building 2, killing 12 people - including Cox.
The commission detailed his compassion, saying as a group of seven coworkers were trying to escape the building, he directed them into an office where they could hide.
"Cox directed the group to quietly enter an office and barricade themselves inside. Cox refused his colleagues’ pleas to enter the office with them and told one co-worker that he needed to see if anyone else needed help," a spokesperson wrote. "Shortly, the assailant encountered Cox a few feet from the closed office door, fatally shooting him before shooting others in the building; the colleagues secured in the office were not injured."
He's one of 10,238 people who have been selected for the Carnegie award since 1904.
The honor comes with a financial grant for Cox's survivors.
"Throughout the 117 years since the Fund was established by industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, nearly $43 million has been given in one-time grants, scholarship aid, death benefits, and continuing assistance," said a communications coordinator for the commission.