An Army veteran and Red Sox fan. A soccer coach. A “prankster” who entertained his colleagues. A city veteran preparing to retire. Parents, grandparents, neighbors and friends. The 12 people killed in Friday’s shooting at a Virginia Beach government building were all these things, and so much more. We take a moment now to honor the victims, with memories and tributes from those who knew them best.
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We want to take a moment now and remember the 12 victims of the Virginia Beach shooting with some memories and tributes from those who knew them best.
Robert Williams was a special projects coordinator who, as a friend wrote — quote — "had a lot of institutional knowledge." Williams, according to another friend, was setting his sights on retiring this year to spend more time with family.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page for the widow of Herbert Snelling, a contractor in the building, to help with funeral costs. Friends say — quote — "Bert was courageous, kind and he loved his wife and Jesus deeply."
Ryan Keith Cox loved to sing in church and is credited with saving lives in the building. Here's how his co-worker Christi Dewar described what he did.
Seven of us were going to go out the break room door, and Keith was standing there, and he said: "Stop. Get up against the wall. Be quiet. Be still. Get in Lori's office now. Barricade the office. Get in there." And I said, "Come on, Keith." And he said: "I got to check on everybody else."
Christopher Rapp was an engineer with Virginia Beach's Public Utilities Department. He enjoyed Scottish music and joined a pipe band last fall called Tidewater Pipes and Drums. Band members wrote that — quote — "Chris was reserved, but very friendly, quietly engaging members one-on-one after our weekly practices."
Richard Nettleton was with the Public Utilities Department for over 28 years and also served as a lieutenant in the United States Army's 130th Engineer Brigade in Germany. A friend told local reporters — quote — "He was a big Red Sox fan. We couldn't have a conversation without having a little bit of banter back and forth about the Red Sox and Yankees. That's something I'm going to miss about Rich."
Katherine Nixon worked for the city for 10 years and is survived by her three children. A friend told "The Virginian-Pilot" — quote — "She was my son's very first soccer coach, and she had a way with all the kids."
Michelle Langer is remembered as a fun-loving person who recently lost her father. A friend and co-worker wrote on Facebook — quote — "She was always someone who I could approach and could talk with. She was like an aunt to me."
Engineer Joshua Hardy is remembered as a prankster who could put a smile on any face. A co-worker wrote on Facebook that — quote — "He was a brother who every day would bring a smile to your face."
Thirty-five-old Alexander Gusev emigrated from Belarus in 2003 as a student in his late teens, seeking a better life in America. He received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering before becoming a right-of-way agent with the City of Virginia beach.
Mary Louise Gayle had just turned 65 years old. A mother of two and a grandmother, Gayle was often found walking her small dog around the neighborhood. Her next-door neighbor told "The Pilot" — quote — "If anyone was going to have a neighbor, she would be the one to have."
Laquita Brown was fluent in three languages. She was killed on her father's birthday, who thought he would find his daughter at a nearby hospital. She died inside the city building.
Who needs a multiple magazine? For what? I feel everyone has a right to defend themselves, but you don't need multiple magazines to defend yourself.
Tara Gallagher was an engineer with the Public Works Department for six years. She leaves behind a 22-month-old son, Patrick. Her husband told reporters — quote — "Most of our time was spent fixing the house and raising our son. It was all she lived for." She was 39 years old.
Three people remain in critical condition. The city's police chief said investigators are going back over the shooter's activities on the day of the attack.