Virginia Beach Shooter Isolated Self at Work, Making it Hard to Predict Attack: FBI

The FBI said this week that DeWayne Craddock, who shot and killed 12 people in Virginia Beach in 2019, intentionally isolated himself at work, which would have made it hard for colleagues to "see the confluence of behaviors that may have forewarned the attack."

Findings released Wednesday from an FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit investigation determined that Craddock's murder spree was "was motivated by perceived workplace grievances" that he had "fixated on for years." The FBI said that the city engineer had a skewed understanding of his work performance and how work colleagues regarded him, the Associated Press reported.

"The shooter's inflated sense of self-importance contributed to this conflict and led him to believe he was unjustly and repeatedly criticized and slighted," the FBI said in a statement. "Violence was viewed by the shooter as a way to reconcile this conflict and restore his perverted view of justice."

The FBI conveyed that only Craddock could know the true motivation behind the attack, but their investigation and evidence lead them to believe their assessment was accurate.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Virginia Beach Shooter
In this June 1, 2019 file photo, a law enforcement official stands at an entrance to a municipal building that was the scene of a shooting in Virginia Beach, Va. DeWayne Craddock, a city engineer who fatally shot 12 people in a Virginia Beach municipal building in 2019 “was motivated by perceived workplace grievances” that “he fixated on for years,” according to findings released by the FBI on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo

The FBI's findings appear to go a step further than the investigation that was conducted by the city, which said in March that it could not determine a motive for the mass shooting.

"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 city's report concluded.

Craddock had worked in the city's public utilities department for more than nine years. He killed 11 co-workers and a contractor who was in the building at the time 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 city's report had said Craddock's life began to change around 2017. 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 city's 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 city's report said investigators didn't uncover "any indications of violent tendencies or acts of violence committed by the suspect prior to May 31, 2019."

Some of the victims' families have long blamed what they say was a toxic workplace environment and a failure by supervisors to recognize warning signs.

Jason Nixon, whose wife, Kate Nixon, was killed, told The Associated Press in March 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 during that time, happening in between the 2018 high school killings in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead and the August 2019 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 the coronavirus pandemic arrived.

Virginia Beach Shooting Memorial
In this June 2, 2019, file photo, a volunteer prepares to place crosses for victims of a mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., at a nearby makeshift memorial. Patrick Semansky/AP Photo