Ryan "Keith" Cox, who was killed while attempting to bring his colleagues to safety during the Virginia Beach Municipal Center mass shooting, will posthumously receive the Carnegie Medal for his heroism.
According to the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, the Carnegie Medal is awarded to people who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree saving or attempting to save the lives of others, and is considered North America’s highest civilian honor for heroism.
During the May 31, 2019 mass shooting, Cox directed a group of his colleagues to barricade themselves inside an office. He refused to join them, saying, “I’ve got to see if anybody needs help.”
He was fatally shot a few feet from the closed office door; the people inside were uninjured.
Cox, 50, served Virginia Beach as an account clerk in the Department of Public Utilities for 12 years. His friends and his colleagues describe Cox as a selfless man who put the needs of others before his own.
In 2020, a Virginia Beach post office was renamed in Cox's honor. Rep. Elaine Luria helped get a bill through Congress calling for the name change.
"It will never bring him back, but those who see his name on this post office will remember a hero who saved lives and in doing so lost his own," Luria said during the renaming ceremony.