WASHINGTON — The U.S. House on Wednesday unanimously passed legislation that would name a Virginia Beach post office after Ryan “Keith” Cox.
Cox was one of the 12 people shot and killed in the Virginia Beach municipal center mass shooting on May 31. For 12 years, he served Virginia Beach as an account clerk in the Department of Public Utilities.
Congresswoman Elaine Luria introduced the legislation after she learned of Keith's selfless actions of saving his coworkers during the shooting.
Virginia Beach Postmaster Joseph A. Croce Jr. approved Luria's request to change the post office's name. In a voice vote, the legislation passed the U.S. House, and now it heads to the U.S. Senate.
Congresswoman Luria spoke on the House floor on Wednesday to honor Cox.
Cox’s father, E. Ray Cox said he’s not surprised his son spent his final moments trying to save others.
"He was not one to run and hide, but rather to usher others out of harm’s way, while he rushed into harm's way. But the moment I found out that he was one of the victims, whose life was lost, it felt like the bottom of my stomach fell out,” said Cox.
Cox said if his son was alive today, he would be shocked by the honor.
"He wouldn't know what to say about all this. He would be asking now, 'what is all this about,' because he would see what he'd done as the norm,” said Cox.
But Cox said that even though he appreciates the honor, he would rather have his son back.
"I would not exchange my son for any act of kindness or any act of memorialization of his name. I prefer to have my son,” said Cox.
The post office that would be named after him is located at 2509 George Mason Drive.
“I think that everyone in Virginia Beach has been very touched in one way or another by the tragedy that happened at Municipal Center Building 2. The people who are impacted by this in their daily lives, use that post office. I think it will be a reminder of heroism, and a very tragic moment,” Rep. Luria told 13News Now.
View the full legislation below:
Congressman Bobby Scott, Congressman A. Donald McEachin, Congressman Rob Wittman, Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, Congressman Denver Riggleman, Congressman Morgan Griffith, Congressman Don Beyer, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, Congressman Gerry Connolly, and Congressman Ben Cline are original cosponsors of the bill.