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Gone but not forgotten: Families remember lives lost in Virginia Beach mass shooting

mass shooting
Posted at 11:02 PM, May 31, 2021

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Building 2 remains a vivid and painful reminder for Jason Nixon and his three daughters, MacKenzie, 3, Madilyn, 8, and Morgan, 15.

“It’s not easy – emotionally, stressfully,” said Jason Nixon who lost his wife Kate in the mass shooting. “The girls feel the same emotion and stress as I do. When you love somebody like that, it’s hard.”

This Memorial Day marks two years since the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.

Nixon’s wife Kate was one of 12 victims shot and killed on May 31, 2019 by a city employee.

“Building 2 should be knocked down honestly,” Nixon said. “It should be built into a nice park and turned into a memorial for my kids.”

The family paused for a moment of silence at 4:06 p.m. – the time of the first 911 call.

The Nixons placed roses in a planter of flowers Kate’s girls decorated for their mom.

“I wish she was here right now,” said Morgan Nixon of her mother.

Three-year-old MacKenzie was just one when her mother was killed.

Madilyn, 8, left a message for her mom on a remembrance banner, writing “We miss you mommy.”

The family then solemnly walked over to building 2, leaving behind flowers for the 42-year old veteran city engineer.

“It hurts to just drive up to the courthouse area because it reminds me of all the times I would go to lunch to the little Mexican place here on the corner,” Jason Nixon said. “If I had some time off, I’d go pick her up for lunch.”

The community is still reeling over the horror that unfolded.

One woman who was visibly distraught told News 3 she lost Alex Mikhail Gusev in the mass tragedy.

As loved ones continue to heal, the community is paying tribute. At Mount Trashmore, a huge forget-me-not-flower is painted on the grass.

At the Oceanfront by 24th Street, a large sand sculpture of the flower honors the lives lost.

“We thought it was beautiful,” said Susan Kell who was visiting from Peoria, Illinois. “We saw it when we were walking up the boardwalk. It was very pretty. In fact, it was one of the reasons why we stopped here and chose this place to be on the beach.”

Twelve lives are gone but not forgotten.

Unanswered questions are making it harder for families to move forward.

The city recently completed its investigation, finding no motive behind the shooting.

“The report was garbage; if they have nothing to hide then show me the evidence that I’m asking for,” said Jason Nixon. “Their mother left a legacy. Now the Nixon family is depending on the city to do the right thing and they’re not. My wife did her part. The city should do theirs.”