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State commission looking into Virginia Beach mass shooting shares preliminary report

Possible threat not credible after ‘overheard comment’ about Virginia Beach Municipal Center, police say
Posted at 3:26 PM, Nov 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-03 17:53:24-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Members of a state commission tasked with finding the motive in the 2019 workplace shooting inside Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center that killed 12 and injured five others say they are making progress.

Families of the victims who were shot by a co-worker are eager for more insight and answers.

With a gunshot to the shoulder and gunshot to the back of the head, as heinous as it is, Jason Nixon sadly knows how his wife, Kate, died, but not exactly why.

"It angers me a lot because no one has taken responsibility," said Nixon.

It was Nixon and other family members that pushed two Virginia Beach delegates to fight for a state investigation to become funded last year after they were displeased with an independent report and one from the police department that found no motive but revealed workplace grievances.

"This is like a jigsaw puzzle that has a bunch of several big major pieces, but maybe those pieces don’t fit together," said Butch Bracknell, the commission's vice chair.

Bracknell is one of the 21 commission members appointed. So far, he says the commission has studied all the reports and met with victims and city leaders with the goal of finding out why there were workplace grievances and discipline issues within the city.

"We want to know why did this happen? What could have been done better to foresee and prevent the event?" said Bracknell.

The commission asked the city if they have changed security since the incident inside Building 2, and the city noted they conducted an exercise prior to the incident, noting, "the gunman also received training." They said they plan to also deploy new measures.

"No one will ever get a perfect understanding of the shooter's mentality before he committed the heinous act because the best source of that information isn’t with us anymore," said Bracknell.

The commission also asked the city what the plan is for long-term needs for survivors and discussed an endowment fund as the VB Strong grant fund's end next year.

"It would be very valuable for city employees, myself and my family," said Nixon.

The report also notes the FBI's Behavioral Unit still has more information on the shooter that's never been reported but the commission wants revealed.

The goal of the commission is to produce a summary, much like the one after the Virginia Tech massacre, that helps cities or even private companies mitigate workplace violence and implement crisis mitigation strategies.

Related: State commission member analyzing Virginia Beach mass shooting speaks to News 3

But, for Nixon, he also wants something else.

"What we are looking for is accountability," said Nixon. "No one wakes up in the morning and says, 'I am going to go shoot up 12 people.' Nobody does that. There was a buildup to this."

The commission should finish its report in June 2022.

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