Local honor guards assigned to families of Virginia Beach mass shooting victims

Posted at 2:35 PM, Jun 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 17:46:09-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Virginia Beach Police and Fire Departments are reaching out to help the families impacted by Friday’s tragedy.

Honor guards and chaplains are on hand to act as family liaisons.

“They are there do to whatever the family needs, whatever is requested,” Virginia Beach Fire Department Public Information Officer Art Kohn said. “Now, some of them may even stay at the house if that’s what the family wants. Others are just come and go as the family needs them.”

They're needs that Kohn hopes will offer those families one less thing to stress about.

12 families lost loved ones at the municipal center. All were there just their doing their jobs.

“We are doing whatever we can to ease the pain of all this and help the families however,” Kohn explained.

Tuesday, city leaders told News 3 chaplains have also been designated to each family.

Faces of the Virginia Beach mass shooting

“I was so bowled over because the three houses we went to the other night - all of them, the fire department person there just as kind helping people taking notes... ‘Let me see if I can get you an answer to that question,'" said Drew Lankford with the city’s public works department.

Survivors who are still recovering in the hospital also have the services at their beck and call.

“When you’re in the hospital, you can’t get things for yourself, so you might need something. We are there to do that,” Kohn mentioned.

Traditionally, the fire department's honor guards were for families of firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Kohn explained that Friday’s shooting called for an exception because most were city employees.

“These people that do this... they are very sensitive to the needs of the families. They are themselves extended family members. They are there to do whatever the families want,” Kohn mentioned.

We’re told the honor guards will likely be with the families until memorial services are held.

Click here for our full coverage on the Virginia Beach mass shooting.