Investigators have been remaining silent about a motive, if they even knew of one, for the deadly mass public shooting in Virginia Beach that killed at least a dozen people Friday afternoon. However, according to Washington Post interviews with several employees who were working in the municipal building when DeWayne Craddock entered and started shooting, the 40-year-old gunman could have been targeting his victims.
At the very least, Craddock reportedly gave a pass to one potential victim who he was “casual acquaintances” with.
Accounting clerk Thomas Colson told the Post that he and Craddock made eye contact at one point during the shooting.
“A lady was knocked down, and I was helping her up,” Colson told the Post. “We got people into an office and barricaded the door with a chair. I was going for another sweep when I looked up and saw the gunman walking toward me.”
Colson said that he and some colleagues went into an office. Craddock “went by three times,” Colson said. “He looked me dead in the eye and I could see the weapon in his hands. Then he walked away and we found a table and barricaded the door. It felt like forever.”
Initial reports on Friday pointed to a disgruntled employee who had recently been fired and returned to his former workplace to get revenge. However, officials have not announced what they believe was Craddock’s motive.
Colson’s comments seemed to be the first indication that Craddock could have targeted his victims while possibly ignoring others he may have come across during the carnage.
Craddock was described as a longtime city worker employed as an engineer with the Department of Public Utilities at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center for about 15 years. “Victims were found on three floors of Building 2 and one victim was found shot in a car outside,” CBS News reported. Building 2 is where the Department of Public Utilities is located.
That would make it plausible that Craddock knew his victims and could help explain why he only shot one person in the parking lot before going inside the building and shooting people on all three of its floors.
The Virginia Beach city manager told the New York Times that Craddock was technically still employed when he started shooting and that he “had a security pass like all employees had and he was authorized to enter the building.”