Investigators were still working to uncover details in the deadly mass shooting that killed at least 12 people and left at least four people injured in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon. A clearer picture was emerging of the gunman’s personal and professional lives before he went on a homicidal rage that also ended in his own death.
As of Saturday evening, it was still unclear what prompted DeWayne Craddock to launch a deadly siege on his unwitting former co-workers at a municipal building. Initial media reports pointed to Craddock being a “disgruntled” former employee who had recently been fired, but nothing more substantive has been reported about his possible motive since the shooting’s immediate aftermath.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Craddock was a “longtime city employee who had been fired” before he “entered a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., Friday afternoon to exact revenge.”
It was unclear when and how Craddock lost his job.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said after the shooting on Friday. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”
People who knew Craddock spoke to reporters on Saturday to provide a glimpse into what may have been going through his mind in the months and days leading up to the latest mass shooting in America. He was remembered as someone who was very private, unlike his then-wife, and rarely if ever spoke to his neighbors, Nikolas Thornton told the Washington Post.
“They were polar opposites,” Craddock’s former neighbor said. “She was a social butterfly. I would see him sometimes but he never said anything.”
The New York Daily News reported that Craddock’s wife moved out of their Virginia Beach home “some time ago.” She has not yet been publicly identified by name.
It was unclear when the couple got a divorce. A web page on MyLife.com listed information about a Virginia Beach resident named DeWayne Craddock as being 40 years old and having a birthday on Oct. 15, 1978. It also lists him as a Black registered Democrat and Christian who is married.
Statistics show that it is rare for Black people to perpetrate mass shootings.
Between 1982 and June of last year, 59 of the 101 mass shootings in that time span were launched by white people, according to data provided by Statista, which offers “statistics and studies from more than 22,500 sources.” Black people had the next-highest number of mass shooters at 16.