VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach City Council voted unanimously to support an independent investigation into the May 31 shooting at the municipal center.
This comes after calls from some families of the victims and several residents wanting investigators without ties to the city.
"Virginia Beach must appoint an investigator into the May massacre. The investigator must have no ties to Virginia Beach city government," said resident Conrad Schesventer, who spoke before council.
"I don't know why an outside investigation can't be done by somebody unbiased for this investigation," said another woman who said she's Kate Nixon's sister-in-law.
She supports an independent investigation and also read a letter from Nixon's husband, Jason Nixon. Kate Nixon was killed in the shooting.
"We need total and full transparency and that's all we ask as a family for all 12 victims, including my sister-in-law," she told council on Tuesday.
Mayor Bobby Dyer said he hopes this will be positive for the city and will bring peace for the families of victims, survivors and general public as city council will have no say in the investigation and the city auditor will have a limited role in overseeing it, mostly serving as a contact person.
"I think it's going to address lots of problems and lots of concerns. I think we want to give confidence back to the public and especially the families who were traumatized and the employees that were traumatized," said Mayor Dyer.
He said supporting the independent investigation doesn't, in any way, take away from his confidence in the police criminal investigation.
"I think the independent look at things that we passed tonight, an external review, will give us more validity and a better picture of what went on and maybe what we can do to prevent it," he said.
Now, the city goes into the bidding process starting July 3. That will be open until July 12.
The independent investigation will start as soon as the investigators are chosen.
Mayor Dyer expects the police criminal investigation to wrap up in August.