Personal stories emerge during public listening session for Virginia Beach mass shooting investigation

Posted at 11:09 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-29 23:30:00-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Hillard Heintze, the firm hired to investigate the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, held their first public listening session on Monday. </p>

In a question-and-answer set up, the investigative team heard from city employees and concerned citizens.

While they couldn't respond to every statement, they did get a feel for what concerns people have.

"From our perspective, we hope and pray that you review documents [and] that you're reviewing documents of the workplace environment that this was hatched," one man said.

Faces of the Virginia Beach mass shooting

Another woman in attendance said, "I don't feel comfortable going in [government buildings] knowing that there's some safety or no safety - that anyone can walk in there. There's no cameras."

The meeting was part of a three-phase plan that is expected to last 12 weeks.

In opening remarks, Chief Operating Officer Ken Bouche reiterated that the team will look at everything from city policy and procedures to possible warning signs.

People in attendance want investigators to look at race relations and the workplace environment, claiming toxicity in both respects.

The city can't respond to these allegations because the investigation review is underway. However, the Hillard Heintze team maintains they will take every piece of information seriously and produce an unbiased and unfiltered report.

There will be another public listening session on August 8 at 7 p.m at the Sandler Center.

If you are unable to make it, you can submit comments in an anonymous email at or by phone at 877-208-5650.

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