Names of victims of a mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., are displayed during a vigil at Bridge Church, Saturday, June 1, 2019, in Virginia Beach, Va. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Names of victims of a mass shooting at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., are displayed during a vigil at Bridge Church, Saturday, June 1, 2019, in Virginia Beach, Va. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Virginia Beach shines light on victims, not mass shooter

12 people were killed by the shooter who opened fire inside a municipal building

The victims of America’s latest mass shooting had been dead for less than a day when police and city officials released a detailed presentation with their names, photos, job titles and the cities or towns in which they lived.

In all, 12 people — 11 of them city employees — were killed by the shooter who opened fire inside a municipal building.

Far less was revealed Saturday about the man who authorities say carried out the shootings. There was no photo. And authorities promised to utter his name only once: “DeWayne Craddock,” a 40-year-old engineer who worked in the city’s utilities department.

“We wanted to control that narrative,” Steve Cover, Virginia Beach’s deputy city manager of public safety, said of the news conference officials held the day after Friday’s shooting. “We didn’t want it to leak out piece by piece through family and friends and so forth through the media. We felt it was kind of our obligation to get that message out.”

READ MORE: 11 people killed in Virginia Beach shooting

This sprawling city on Virginia’s coast is employing an increasingly common public information strategy: Release more details about the victims of mass shootings than of the killers — at least initially — to limit the criminals’ exposure and prevent copycat shootings.

A similar tack was taken in March after a mass shooting in New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to deny a platform for the white supremacist who authorities said gunned down 50 people at two mosques.

“The goal is to kind of interrupt the cycle of new mass shooters citing previous ones, and the new mass shooters who are becoming role models for even more attackers,” said Adam Lankford, a criminologist at the University of Alabama.

ALSO READ: New Zealand leader vows to deny notoriety to mosque gunman

Lankford has studied the influence of publicity on future shooters and has urged the news media to not name or release photos of the perpetrators.

“What the guy’s face looks like is not the sort of information that will help stop the next mass shooting,” he said.

But James Alan Fox, a professor at Northeastern University who has studied mass shootings, said it’s appropriate for law enforcement officials to release basic facts.

“It is news,” Fox said. “We provide basic details on other types of offenders.”

It is the “act — not the actor” that influences others, he said. “The Columbine massacre, for example, inspired copycats, not the assailants’ names and faces.”

But there is a limit to how much should be reported, Fox said. Too much about a killer’s background can “humanize” him or her and cross the line from news reporting to “celebrity watch.”

Virginia Beach officials said more information about Friday’s shooting will come out.

“And we will share our lessons learned,” said Cover, the deputy city manager.

But first, officials want everyone to know the profound loss the city has suffered: four engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands; three right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines; an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant and a special projects co-ordinator. In all, they had served the city of Virginia Beach for more than 150 years. The 12th victim was a contractor who was in the building to seek a permit.

“They leave a void that we will never be able to fill,” said City Manager Dave Hansen, who had worked for years with many of the slain

Sandra McDonald, 54, an event planner and nanny who lives in Virginia Beach, said she supports the city’s strong focus on the victims.

“I think sometimes these people think going out in a blaze of glory is the way they are going to have their moment of fame,” McDonald said, referring to the mass shooters. “I just think if we don’t give them that moment of fame anymore, maybe they won’t take innocent people with them.”

Alice Scott, whose husband, Joseph Scott, worked with Craddock in the Public Utilities Department, said she can understand why people don’t want to hear the shooter’s name.

But she said maybe after some time has passed, “we can discuss why this happened.”

“Maybe he needed someone to talk to,” she said. “Maybe he needed to (talk) out his troubles like everybody else.”

READ MORE: Virginia Beach shooting victims were veteran city employees

___

Associated Press writer Denise Lavoie contributed to this report.

Ben Finley, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Parents Robin Ringer and Wyatt Gilmore with the No. 1 baby of 2021 in the Cowichan Valley. They have yet to decide on a name for her. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Chemainus couple excited about having the New Year’s baby for the Cowichan Valley

Recent arrivals from Fort Nelson celebrate their girl coming into the world on Jan. 7

Regional District of Nanaimo’s transit select committee is expected to vote on a recommendation that could see busing between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley. (News Bulletin file)
Regional District of Nanaimo staff recommending bus route to Cowichan Valley

More than 1,900 survey respondents expressed support for inter-regional transit, notes RDN report

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

A Sooke woman is speaking up after she was almost tricked by a lottery scam, claiming she had won $950,000 with Set for Life Lottery. (File Photo)
‘I wanted it to be true so badly’: Sooke senior narrowly avoids lottery scam

88-year-old received letter stating she had won $950,000

B.C. driver’s licence and identity cards incorporate medical services, but the passport option for land crossings is being phased out. (B.C. government)
B.C. abandons border ID cards built into driver’s licence

$35 option costing ICBC millions as demand dwindles

Submitted photo of Town Park C Block apartment fire.
Apartment fire in Port Hardy forces residents to jump from building

‘Multiple people were transported to the hospital with injuries from falling’

sdf
2nd in-school violence incident in Mission, B.C, ends in arrest

RCMP notified of local Instagram page with videos (now deleted) showing student assaults, bullying

BC Emergency Health Services has deployed the Major Incident Response Team (MIRRT) as COVID-19 positive cases rise in the Williams Lake region. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
B.C.’s rapid response paramedics deployed to Williams Lake as COVID-19 cases climb

BC Emergency Health Services has sent a Major Incident Rapid Response Team to the lakecity

The new Malahat Skywalk is expected to be completed by this summer. (Submitted graphic)
Malahat Skywalk expected to be complete by this summer

$15-million project will see 650-metre elevated wooden pathway constructed

U.S. military units march in front of the Capitol, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021 in Washington, as they rehearse for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, which will be held at the Capitol on Wednesday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Biden aims for unifying speech at daunting moment for U.S.

President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it

Williams Lake physician Dr. Ivan Scrooby and medical graduate student Vionarica Gusti hold up the COSMIC Bubble Helmet. Both are part of the non-profit organization COSMIC Medical which has come together to develop devices for treating patients with COVID-19. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Group of B.C. doctors, engineers developing ‘bubble helmet’ for COVID-19 patients

The helmet could support several patients at once, says the group

Most Read