Lawmakers Demand Probe Into Va. Beach Mass Shooting: Report
April 13, 2020
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA — Two delegates want a probe into the May 31 mass shooting in Virginia Beach as Virginia state lawmakers prepare to consider new gun laws at a special session, according to a report.
WTOP reports that Virginia Beach delegates Cheryl Turpin and Kelly Convirs-Fowler (both D) sent letters to the Virginia Beach City Council, asking them to begin an investigation into the shooting, which claimed the lives of 12 people and launched another nationwide debate on gun control. The gunman died in a confrontation with police.
Gov. Ralph Northam called a special session for July 9 to consider new gun laws in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Turpin and Fowler want the investigation to focus on the “policies, procedures, and events” leading up to the shooting, according to WTOP. In particular, the letter notes that first responders had difficulty getting into the building due to the electronic locks, and there were communication failures.
Read more: Virginia Beach Shooting: 12 Dead, Plus Gunman; More Injured Gun Control Focus Of VA Legislature Special Session: Northam
The mass shooting is believed to be the worst in the United States so far this year and the worst in Virginia Beach history. Before, Virginia Beach’s worst mass shooting happened in 1994, when four people were shot and killed at the Witchduck Inn, according to The Virginian-Pilot.
Police Chief Jim Cervera said the shooter opened fire on workers shortly after 4 p.m. in Building 2, which is next to City Hall and houses the city’s public works, planning, public utilities and other departments on 2425 Nimmo Parkway. Officers entered and returned fire, killing the suspect. Cervera said a police officer was among those shot, but was saved by his bulletproof vest, he said.
The gunman reportedly worked for the city’s public works department, had access to the building and came in Friday with a weapon, according to Cervera. This weapon was a 0.45 caliber handgun with a suppressor on it, and it had an extended magazine.
“This is a horrific day for the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement shortly after the shooting. “My deepest condolences and prayers go to the families of those who left home this morning, and will not return tonight, as well as those who have been injured in this tragedy. This is unspeakable, senseless violence. I commend local and state law enforcement, first responders, medical teams, and all others who acted swiftly to respond to this situation. My thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families.”
Northam said he will ask lawmakers to adopt:
Additional reporting by Patch editors Deb Belt, Feroze Dhanoa, Emily Leayman, Skip Wood, and Elizabeth Janney, as well as the Associated Press