VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — On May 31, 2019, a Virginia Beach city employee shot and killed 12 people in on city grounds. Five other people were hurt, including four city employees who were critically injured and a responding police officer who was shot.
Nearly a year later, the most important question - why - remains unanswered. Both Virginia Beach Police investigators and independent investigators say the shooter's motive is unclear without a note or manifesto explaining his actions.
However, multiple investigations into the mass shooting have revealed important information:
- The Virginia Beach Police Department says there's no reason why the shooter targeted some people and not others, saying different alleged reasons were unsubstantiated.
- Inside Building 2, the police pursuit of the shooter was delayed by a lack of key card access to certain parts of the building. VBPD says officers now have key card access to city buildings.
- The Hillard Heintze Independent Investigation report provides insight into the shooter's background. It says he was isolated and paranoid, felt he was being treated unfairly by the city, and had problems with work performance.
- The shooter had searched for information about other mass shootings five times in the year leading up to May 31, 2019, per the HH report. He also searched for the interior map of Building 2.
- The shooter bought guns legally and had ordered body armor and suppressors.
- Investigators say the shooter's known actions and behaviors before the attack "did not rise to an elevated level of risk that would've warranted intervention."
- VBPD says it is choosing not release the full investigation report when it is completed later this year, opting to release a summary. The department says releasing the full report would "expose the victims and their families to unnecessary additional trauma." Critics, including some family members of victims, are calling for "full transparency" and the release of the complete investigation.
- FBI Norfolk, which is assisting VBPD in providing additional information for the investigation, is finishing a behavioral analysis report of the shooter and a specialized reconstruction of the shooting. VBPD is expected to incorporate this information in its full investigation, which is set to be finished this fall.