City of Virginia Beach releases update on mass shooting; 240-plus people to be interviewed

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VB Shooting Victims Collage

The City of Virginia Beach has released an update on the Municipal Center mass shooting two weeks ago, providing a timeline of the investigation process and touching on what it calls “rumors, innuendo, conflicting theories and speculation” in the shooting’s aftermath.

City Manager Dave Hansen says 240 people who either witnessed the shooting, were inside Building 2 and/or had significant information about the shooting were identified by police, and the number is growing as the investigation continues.

Hansen also acknowledged the public speculation into the shooting. He says there were rumors that shooting victim Kate Nixon’s name was one of the names redacted in the shooter’s resignation email, but it was confirmed she did not receive the email because she was not his supervisor.

He also added that so far the investigation hasn’t revealed evidence that the shooter was “confrontational, argumentative and engaging in fights” with co-workers, despite indications that the shooter was antagonistic to co-workers. The husband of Kate Nixon, Jason Nixon, says she told him that the shooter, “was a poor engineer, very chauvinistic, an all around not nice guy. He gave her bad vibes.” Jason Nixon says he even offered her his gun to take to work for protection.

Jason Nixon says he believes the city’s narrative of the shooting doesn’t align with what Kate told him, and he’s pushing for an independent investigation.

“No one wants answers more than we do, Hansen said. “We, like the families, coworkers and community, want to understand the circumstances that played into this tragedy as best we can. While there is no justification for the violence that occurred here on May 31, the Police are looking into every lead and examining every avenue in search of the facts.

He emphasized what he calls the city’s “demonstrated commitment to transparency.”

“The speed with which we responded to the shooting was coupled with a demonstrated commitment to transparency. Within 16 hours of the incident, we shared publicly the identities of the victims and the suspect. Within 48 hours, the Virginia Beach Police Department provided the timeline of events and engaged the local FBI field office which offered resources for the processing of the scene. Within 72 hours, we released the resignation email the shooter had sent in which he provided his two-week notice.”

The FBI was in charge of the initial investigation inside Building 2 in the aftermath of the shooting, reconstructing the scene and collecting evidence. On June 10, Hansen says the FBI released the building to the Virginia Beach Police Department, who worked to gather additional forensic evidence.

Two days later on June 12, police released Building 2 back to the city for cleanup and remediation processes such as the retrieval of personal items and securing paper and electronic files that could be relevant to the investigation.

“It is our unwavering commitment to conduct a complete, thorough, professional and responsible investigation. Once we have the entire criminal investigation completed (both FBI and Police) and reviewed by the Commonwealth’s Attorney, we can determine whether there are still unanswered questions that merit an independent investigation,” Hansen said.

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