VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Police on Saturday identified DeWayne Craddock, a 40-year-old city public utilities engineer, as the suspect in Friday afternoon’s shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach that killed 12 as well as the gunman.
Police Chief James Cervera, speaking at a morning news conference, said it would be the only time his name is mentioned publicly by law enforcement. Craddock was killed in a shootout with police inside the building.
Here’s what we know about Craddock:
A longtime city employee
Craddock was an engineer at the Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities for 15 years, police say. He worked in the city’s water and sanitary sewers branch and was still employed with the department at the time of the attack, according to authorities.
That contradicts reports by CNN and The Wall Street Journal that have described Craddock as a “disgruntled employee” who had been recently terminated. At a Saturday afternoon news conference, Cervera was adamant that any unnamed sources saying the suspect had been terminated are incorrect.
Court records in Virginia Beach do not show any prior criminal activity by Craddock.
Had access to building
Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen said the suspect, as a current employee, had a security pass and was authorized to enter the building.
The building is considered an open-government facility with no additional security to enter, according to authorities. But security passes – like the one police say Craddock posses during the shooting – are needed to access employee offices and conference rooms inside.
Police are in the process of preparing a timeline of the attack that will be released later.
Cervera said police don’t have a motive at this point for the attack. He said law enforcement is conducting an “in-depth investigation – pre-incident as well as the incident.”
He declined to comment when asked whether the suspect had threatened employees in the past. Authorities would not discuss his personal file, record as an employee or say whether there had been a change in his work status prior to the attack.
He said investigators have interviewed coworkers but that he’s not at liberty to discuss their information.
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Seen brushing his teeth minutes before attack
Joseph Scott, an engineering technician with the department of public works, said he had worked with Craddock before and had a brief interaction with him Friday. Scott said he saw him in the men’s restroom about five minutes before the shooting.
“He was in there brushing his teeth, which he always did after he ate,” Scott said. “I said ‘Hey, how you doing? What are you doing this weekend?’ It was just a brief conversation.”
Scott said he worked in a different division from Craddock, whom he described as quiet, polite and a “nice guy.” Scott said he thought Craddock was in good standing at work and had never heard negative reports about him.
Reserved with few visitors, neighbors say
Craddock lived at a Virginia Beach apartment complex, the Adkins Reserve complex, by himself.
Two of Craddock’s neighbors Amanda Archer, 22, and her roommate, Cassetty Howerin, 23, said Craddock was a creature of habit who was usually home on Fridays, so seeing him leaving early Friday was out of the ordinary.
They both said he was very short on words and never seemed to have visitors.
“No pet, no wife, no visitors, no nothing,” Howerin said. “I’ve never even seen that man take groceries up to his apartment.”
Spotted sitting motionless in car morning of shooting
As she left her apartment, Archer saw Craddock sitting motionless in his white Subaru early Friday morning but, she thought, he didn’t like to be bothered.
“It’s like now I can’t help but think, what if I did say hello?” said Archer, 22, who lived downstairs from the gunman who police say killed a dozen people. “Would it have changed things, maybe brightened his day? Or would it have made me the first victim?”
‘Meathead’ at the gym
Howerin said Craddock was very buff and she sometimes saw him wearing gym shirts. “If you think about a ‘meathead’ at the gym, that’s him. He was jacked,” she added.
Howerin said Craddock had a deep love for his cars, which along with the Subaru included a silver Camaro. That love, Howerin said, was why she believed Craddock had at least four cameras perched from various windows and above the door of his two-bedroom apartment. He used small wooden planks to create make-shift stands for the cameras adorning his windows.
Neighbors say authorities knocked down his door sometime Friday night and towed his Chevrolet Camaro.
Heavily armed during attack
Police say two .45 caliber handguns and a sound suppressor were found at the scene of the shooting. Both guns were purchased legally, one in 2016, the other in 2018, according to authorities. Two additional weapons were found at his home
The gunman killed his first victim in a car in the parking lot before he entered the building, police said. Inside, he killed people on each of the three main floors.
National Guard, engineering background, college graduate
Craddock graduated in 1996 from Denbigh High School in nearby Newport News, the Associated Press reported, and later joined the Army National Guard, according to a newspaper clip from the time of his city hire. He received basic military training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Craddock later graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Before working in city government, he worked for a private engineering firm in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
Led chamber tour of water pumping station
In 2015, Craddock led board members of the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce on a tour of the Virginia Beach Pumping Station, according to an article from the Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer published at the time.
Craddock, who is described as the city of Virginia Beach project manager, was quoted in the story explaining the mechanics and history of the pumping station, which pumps water from Lake Gaston to Virginia Beach.
Suspect’s family has been notified
Cervera said the suspect’s family has now been notified. Earlier, CNN reported that when the television network made contact with Craddock’s parents Friday night, they were unaware he was the suspected gunman.
Outside a two-story house on a long, wooded road in Yorktown where Craddock’s relatives live, a handwritten note was taped to the home’s front door, the Washington Post reported.
“The family of DeWayne Craddock wishes to send our heart felt condolences to the victims. We are grieving the loss of our loved one. At this time we wish to focus on the victims and the lives loss during yesterdays tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who loss their lives, and those recovering in the hospital.”
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