VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Eleven people went to work at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on May 31, 2019, and just as their workday that Friday was winding down, a man with a gun brought their lives to an end, along with the life of someone who was there on business.
Four were engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands. Three were right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines. The others included an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant, and a special projects coordinator. Another was a contractor who was in Building Two to get a permit.
Combined, the 11 people who were city employees served Virginia Beach for more than 150 years.
All 12 were part of our community. They were our neighbors. They were our friends. They were our loved ones.
Days after the shooting, Dave Hansen, who was city manager at the time, said, "They leave a void that we will never be able to fill."
We also never will forget them.
LaQuita C. Brown of Chesapeake
LaQuita Brown was a right-of-way agent with more than four years in public works.
"If you were around Quita, you were going to have the best time of your life," her friend Candice Rauch said. "She was your best friend, whether you knew her or not."
Rauch said that if Brown were still here, she'd want us all to do one thing: keep smiling.
"Oh my gosh [her laughter] was so contagious. You would just laugh and laugh and laugh because she was so fun," Rauch said.
Tara Welch Gallagher of Virginia Beach
Tara Gallagher was an engineer with six years in public works. A graduate of Old Dominion University, she is one of five victims honored in a memorial being built by ODU.
She was a wife and a mother, and a dedicated public servant.
"Tara was kind in her heart, compassionate in her actions, and humble in her demeanor," her obituary reads.
A few months before her death, Gallagher spoke with 13News Now for a story about water quality tests in Ashville Park.
Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach
Mary Louise Gayle was a right-of-way agent with 24 years in public works. She was described as a "super sweet lady" who always had a big smile.
"She would always be out there in the yard, working on something and talking to my daughters," John Cushman, Gayle's next-door neighbor, told The New York Times.
Gayle's children described her as a "Fiercely protective mother. Proud Grammy. Loving sister and aunt. Everyone’s best friend."
Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach
Alexander Gusev was a right-of-way agent with nine years in public works.
Gusev was born in Belarus and came to the United States on May 31, 2003 -- exactly 16 years before the day of the shooting.
He graduated from ODU and following an internship, landed a full-time job at Virginia Beach Public Works.
"In his time here, he made many faithful friends and touched the lives of many others," his obituary reads.
Katherine "Kate" A. Nixon of Virginia Beach
Kate Nixon was an engineer with 10 years in public utilities. She also was a wife and mother of three.
"Kate is very giving and kind and caring," said Chelsea Bailey, one of Nixon's best friends. "I just can't even put into words."
Nixon's husband, Jason, has been a vocal proponent for an independent investigation into the mass shooting.
"I don't want this to be a flash in the pan and also the next news story comes up and we forget about Kate and the families," Jason previously said.
Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk
Rich Nettleton was an engineer with 28 years in public utilities.
"He was from New Hampshire. He was a big Red Sox fan. I’m from New York, a big Yankees fan," Rich's friend Bob Sciacchitano said. "We couldn’t have a conversation without having a little bit of banter back and forth about the Red Sox and Yankees, and I think that’s something I’m going to miss about Rich."
Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan
Chris Rapp was an engineer with 11 months in public works.
He enjoyed Scottish music and joined a pipe band the previous fall. He played with the group in October during a Celtic festival in Virginia and marched with bandmates on St. Patrick's Day.
"Chris was reserved but very friendly, quietly engaging members one-on-one after our weekly practices," the band, Tidewater Pipes & Drums, said in a statement.
Ryan Keith Cox of Virginia Beach
Keith Cox was an account clerk with more than 12 years in public utilities.
One of the survivors of the shooting said Cox sacrificed himself in an attempt to save others.
“Keith is somebody that would do anything for anybody and he did, he gave his life,” said survivor Christi Dewar. “He needs to be honored and respected and the city needs to do something to memorialize his heroism.”
President Trump signed a bill in August 2019, renaming a Virginia Beach post office in Cox's name after Virginia lawmakers passed the measure.
Joshua A. Hardy of Virginia Beach
Josh Hardy was an engineering technician with more than four years in public utilities.
A neighbor said Hardy was a "God-fearing man. Always trying to keep people's heads in the right place and give you hope."
“We have been told my brother was shot 10 times because he was saving his co-workers,” said Hardy's twin sister, Denise Smallwood. “Josh had two opportunities to escape, but instead he helped people.”
Michelle "Missy" Langer of Virginia Beach
Missy Langer was an administrative assistant with 12 years in public utilities.
After the shooting, Langer's sister, Debbie Borato, said she was a mix of angry and heartbroken; the two had been planning to go on vacation together right before the shooting took place.
Robert "Bobby" Williams of Chesapeake
Bobby Williams was a special projects coordinator with 41 years in public utilities.
His family issued this statement after his death:
“Our beloved husband, father, and PopPop was a private man of few words. We feel the best way we can honor his memory would be for everyone to allow us to grieve our loss in the same way. We would ask that members of the media please respect our wishes and allow us to grieve in private with our family and friends. Thank you for respecting our wishes and the precious legacy of a wonderful man.”
Herbert "Bert" Snelling of Virginia Beach
Bert Snelling was not a city employee, but instead a contractor who was there to file for a permit.
Pete Spitzer said he befriended Snelling a few years ago during a mission trip.
"We were building a church and Bert, the kind and gentle man that he was, somebody that was always there to help people always looking to give his talents," Spitzer said. "He was a giving man and when you go down there and experience the devastation that people have down there it just brings you a bond that's closer between people."
PHOTOS: Memorial outside Virginia Beach Municipal Center
PHOTOS: Remembering the Virginia Beach shooting victims
The Associated Press contributed to this report