All but one of the 12 victims worked for the City of Virginia Beach.
Nate Chute, USA Today Network
VIRGINIA BEACH – Eleven of the 12 victims killed Friday in the nation’s deadliest shooting of the year worked for the city.
“We want you to know who they were so in the days and weeks to come you will learn what they meant to all of us, to their families, to their friends and to their coworkers,” said City Manager Dave Hansen. “They leave a void that we will never be able to fill.”
Four people were also injured in the melee that broke out Friday afternoon in the popular Virginia resort city.
The victims’ names were released by police Saturday morning:
Laquita C. Brown
Brown worked at public works for 4.5 years. She was remembered by Kimberlita Casper, who identified herself as Brown’s cousin, in several Facebook posts.
“I am heartbroken. My cousin’s life was taken from her today,” she wrote.
Casper remembered a conversation with Brown where she spoke of doing preaching work and traveling abroad: “You could see the true joy she had.”
Even though they were at a family funeral, the two found peace in that moment. “We were smiling, laughing and so happy because we know what God promises in just a little while longer if we give our best and do not tire out.”
Ryan Keith Cox
Cox worked at public utilities for 12.5 years. He was the son of Ray Cox, Sr., the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, the Washington Post reports.
Cox’s older brother Ervin posted a tribute on Facebook: “My heart is hurting because my baby brother was murdered today by the shooter in Virginia Beach mass shooting. I won’t hear his beautiful singing voice at church or home anymore. I loved my brother and will truly miss his caring soul. Until we meet again in heaven”
Mary Louise Gayle
Gayle worked at public works for 24 years. She was looking forward to a free day at a spa, which friends and neighbors told the New York Times was to be a reward for her work.
“She was a super sweet lady; she always had this big smile,” next-door neighbor John Cushman told the Times. “She would always be out there in the yard, working on something and talking to my daughters.”
Facebook user Kenneth Ashby, who said that he knew Gayle, remembered her as “a happy person … a good person.”
“A few years ago when she traveled to California on business, all she could think about was stepping in the Pacific so she could say she touched both oceans in the same day. The pictures she sent back weren’t of a mature woman walking on the beach but of a middle aged kid dancing in the surf. Mary Lou will be missed by all who knew her.”
Michelle ‘Missy’ Langer
Langer worked at public utilities for 12 years. She was remembered as “a kind, faithful woman of God” by Twitter user Nicole Newsome, who identified herself as a church family member and a journalist with the Virginian-Pilot.
Christopher Kelly Rapp
Rapp worked at public works for 11 months. He loved Scottish music and played the bagpipes in Tidewater Pipes and Drums, a southeastern Virginia pipe band.
The band remembered Rapp in a Saturday Facebook post: “Chris recently moved to Virginia Beach and immediately joined the band after learning how to play the bagpipes from our friends in the Greater Richmond Pipes & Drums. He was quiet but had a passion for the pipes and Scottish culture.”
Rapp was the former director of public works for Stafford County, Virginia, the county tweeted Saturday.
Herbert ‘Bert’ Snelling
Snelling worked as a contractor. Friends and neighbors told the Virginian-Pilot that he was a kind, generous man who was willing to lend a hand.
“He walked the halls of our church to make sure nothing happened. He protected us,” Mariana Rocha, who knew Snelling through Crosswalk Church, told the newspaper. Snelling led the church’s security team, she said.
Snelling had recently celebrated his wedding anniversary: “Him and his wife were best friends,” Rocha said.
Tara Welch Gallagher
Gallagher worked at public works for 6 years
Alexander Mikhail Gusev
Gusev worked at public works for 9 years. Gusev was an immigrant from Belarus, the New York Times reports.
Joshua O. Hardy
Hardy, 52, who worked at public utilities for about four and a half years, is recalled by neighbor Clay Rosser as a meticulous, religious man who kept his lawn in great shape.
Rosser lowered the blade on his lawn mower an extra notch and mowed Hardy’s yard just the way he would have liked it. Rosser also erected a wooden cross with an urn and flowers in front of Hardy’s townhouse, where he lived alone.
It was the least he could do for the man he described as the perfect neighbor.
“So I came out here and cut it in, you know, his honor, and fashioned up a cross right there because Joshua was a devout man of faith,” Rosser said.
Thank you! You’re almost signed up for
Keep an eye out for an email to confirm your newsletter registration.
On Saturday morning, Rosser learned his friend and neighbor had been one of 12 people slain at the municipal building. He said he placed the cross in Hardy’s yard as a reminder to others of what was lost.
“But it’s not Joshua’s loss because for sure, as I am sitting right here touching this cross, this man is with our savior,” Rosser said, his voice cracking with emotion.
Richard H. Nettleton
Nettleton worked at public utilities for 28 years.
Katherine A. Nixon
Nixon worked at public utilities for 10 years. She worked as a senior engineer, following in a long family tradition of civil engineers, the Washington Post reports.
Her grandmother, Claudia Blodget, mourned her granddaughter in comments to the newspaper: “I still remember teaching her how to quilt when she was a teenager,” she said. “She leaves a hole in the realm that will never be filled.”
Robert ‘Bobby’ Williams
Williams worked at public utilities for 41 years
Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/06/01/virginia-beach-mass-shooting-victims-names-released-others-injured/1310647001/