Final report finds no motive in Virginia Beach mass shooting

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FILE - In this Tuesday, July 9, 2019 file photo, Moms Demanding Action line up during a rally at the State Capitol in Richmond, Va. Governor Northam called a special session of the General Assembly to consider gun legislation in light of the Virginia Beach Shootings. Police in Virginia Beach cannot determine the motivation behind a city engineer's rampage in 2019 that killed 12 people in the municipal building where he worked, according to the city's final investigative report that was released Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Police in Virginia Beach cannot determine a motive for a city engineer's rampage in 2019 that killed 12 people in the municipal building where he worked, according to the city's final investigative report released Wednesday.

“Despite exhaustive investigative work and in spite of unsubstantiated rumors and accusations, it appears we may never know why he committed this heinous act,” the report's conclusion states.

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The 24-page report says shooter DeWayne Craddock did not leave a note or “any other account that would explain his actions.”

"There were no common characteristics among the victims who were killed and injured relating to their age, race or gender,” the report adds.

Craddock had worked in the city’s public utilities department for more than nine years. He killed eleven co-workers and a contractor who was getting a permit. Four others were seriously wounded and a police officer responding to the shooting received a bullet in his tactical vest but escaped serious injury. Craddock was killed in a shootout with police.

The report details the events of that day and profiles Craddock's work and personal life in the years leading up to the violence.

Things began to change for him around 2017, the report said. He was getting a divorce and started to have performance issues at work. In 2018, he received a written reprimand for poor performance, failed to meet expectations on an evaluation and didn't get a merit raise.

“At times, the suspect referenced the belief he was being tasked with work outside of his pay grade,” the report said. “This concern was specifically addressed by his supervisor in 2018. The suspect was told that he had been making improvements and was given encouragement.”

Leaders in the department said the shooter would have met job performance standards in his 2019 evaluation, the report said.

The report found “no substantiated witness reports of any incidents involving threatening behaviors or statements, nor did investigators locate any written statements to that effect.”

Some co-workers used words like “quiet” and “introverted” to describe Craddock while others called him a “jerk” or characterized him as schizophrenic.

But the report concluded that the "investigation did not uncover any indications of violent tendencies or acts of violence committed by the suspect prior to May 31, 2019."

The report is unlikely to satisfy at least some of the victims' families, who blame a toxic workplace and failure by supervisors to recognize warning signs.

Jason Nixon, whose wife, Kate Nixon, was killed, said Wednesday that the shooter was upset because he was having trouble at work and lost out on a promotion.

“Human resources dropped the ball on policies, protocol and procedures," Nixon said. "My wife warned them all the time that there's something wrong with this guy.”

The rampage in Virginia Beach had been the latest in a string of high-profile mass shootings, happening in between the high school killings in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and the Walmart massacre in El Paso, Texas, that left 23 dead.

Some of the victims’ family members have felt that the tragedy was effectively forgotten after the national spotlight moved on to other mass killings. Then came the coronavirus pandemic.

Nixon said that mass shootings in Boulder, Colorado, this week and in Atlanta last week have only reminded him that no official motive has been given for the killings of his wife and 11 others.