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Man who saved colleagues from Virginia Beach shooter gets posthumous medal

Ryan Keith Cox was one of 12 people killed that day

Ryan Keith Cox
Ryan Keith Cox (City of Virginia Beach)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A man who helped save his colleagues during a mass shooting in Virginia has received a posthumous medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Wednesday that Ryan Keith Cox got the Carnegie Medal.

Cox, 50, had directed seven of his colleagues to barricade themselves inside an office during a gunman’s rampage at a Virginia Beach municipal building in 2019. Cox refused his colleagues’ pleas to join them so he could help others.

Cox, who worked as a public utilities account clerk, was one of 12 people killed that day.

The medal is awarded to people throughout the U.S. and Canada who risk their lives for others. It’s considered North America’s highest civilian honor for heroism.

“We would not be in here today if Keith had not forced us into that room and made us stay in there. He gave his life so that all seven of us women could have ours,” Tara McGee, one of Cox’s coworkers, told the newspaper after the shooting.