Washington, D.C., May 31, 2019 — This afternoon, a confirmed 11 people were shot and killed with at least six more injured at a government building in Virginia Beach, VA. The gun violence prevention organization Brady issued the following statement, expressing outrage at yet another mass shooting in America.
Brady President and Virginia native Kris Brown stated,
“This is a devastating day for the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state all too familiar with the pain of mass shootings and everyday gun violence. While it’s too soon to know all the details, we do know that yet again, a senseless act of gun violence has resulted in a permanent tragedy for so many families and another shocked community. Just as we work to find the causes of other mass casualties and take immediate corrective actions, we must examine how this happened so we can take steps to ensure we are not repeating this conversation again and again. Our hearts are with the people of Virginia Beach and the first responders who stepped in today to save lives. We all deserve to live our daily lives — to work, attend school, simply walk down the street — in communities free of gun violence.”
Andy Goddard, President of Brady Virginia’s Hampton Roads Chapter and father of Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard, added,
“From Virginia Tech to Virginia Beach, we know too well how devastating gun violence can be to a community. As we move into the summer months, we must commit to taking action to ensure that this is not another season of increased shootings. These were innocent people ending a work week and looking forward to spending the weekend with their family, their friends, their loved ones. Perhaps we will eventually take action when we have no more thoughts and prayers to give, no more candles to light, no more flowers and teddy bears to pile up, no more tears left in our eyes. Until then, to the Virginia Beach community — we are with you.”
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer stated in a press conference that, “[t]his is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.” The shooting took place in Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. The site houses the city’s operations building, including offices for planning and public works, and is adjacent to City Hall.
Reportedly, a semi-automatic pistol and a rifle found at the scene are believed to have been used in the shooting. The suspect is believed to have purchased the guns legally.
A 2018 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that there were 500 workplaces homicides in 2016, with shootings accounting for 394, or 79 percent. In September 2018, three high-profile workplace shootings took place over the course of 24 hours.
Virginia state law § 15.2-915 states that “no locality shall adopt any workplace rule, other than for the purposes of a community services board or behavioral health authority as defined in § 37.2-100, that prevents an employee of that locality from storing at that locality's workplace a lawfully possessed firearm and ammunition in a locked private motor vehicle.”
Members of the Virginia Beach community impacted by this tragedy can contact Give an Hour, a network of therapists who will provide free help to survivors. The organization, founded originally to reach out to combat veterans returning from war, has expanded its services to include victims of gun violence in the United States, who suffer many of the same post-traumatic issues as our veterans returning from combat.
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.