VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – We are forever #VBStrong.
The Forget-Me-Not flowers seen throughout remembrance sites in Virginia Beach have become the symbol to honor the 12 lives lost and those that were injured in the mass tragedy.
Two years later, a man that hasn't forgotten that dreadful day is Cervera who was with the force for four decades.
"In every police officer's mind events like this continue to replay," he said. "I felt it was important to come by this morning and pay respects for the 12 individuals whose lives were taken," he told News 3 outside Building 2.
On Memorial Day dozens showed up at a remembrance site several hundred feet from building two, young and old leaving heartfelt messages to those gunned down.
"For most Virginia Beach residents it was the darkest day in the cities history," said Delegate Jason Miyares. " On this Memorial Day there are those that died in service to our countr, but in this case these are public servants too they worked to build a better city they went thru horrific event."
Miyares left his condolences while at the same time, pushing for answers. He was instrumental in pushing for a State commission to investigate the deadly day.
"It is so painful that these family members still question why," he said.
Something else painful expressed by families the fact that no permanent memorial has been built.
"I am not making excuses but the reality is COVID set us back in many many ways," said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer. "We are going to be aggressively planning a memorial."
Two years later, the wounds are still fresh, the healing still in progress, and the city still rebuilding it's foundation.
"In a way we are coming through stronger, so let us never forget and honor the memories of those we lost," said Dyer.
Of the 12 victims, 11 of them worked for the city. News 3 remembers the men and women we lost on that tragic day:
- Laquita C. Brown
- Ryan Keith Cox
- Tara Welch Gallagher
- Mary Louise Gayle
- Alexander Mikhail Gusev
- Joshua O. Hardy
- Michelle “Missy” Langer
- Richard H. Nettleton
- Katherine A. Nixon
- Christopher Kelly Rapp
- Herbert “Bert” Snelling
- Robert “Bobby” Williams
The final investigation report into the shooting was released in March; no motive was found.
In 2020, the City of Virginia Beach created a special website for remembering the victims of the shooting. The city also adopted the forget-me-not flower to create a memorial at Mount Trashmore. The city’s Park & Landscape Services team created the special symbol to honor the victims of the shooting, their families and the entire Hampton Roads community.
This year, a sand sculpture point of reflection, inspired by the "Love for VB" forget-me-not flower, was installed on 24th Street at the Oceanfront on May 26 and remained open for viewing through Memorial Day weekend.
A temporary memorial was installed behind Building 15 at the municipal center. The city also painted the Love for VB symbol on Mount Trashmore's front facade, and the public was invited to write a message of hope or remembrance on a banner at the base of the hill.
A moment of silence took place on Friday, May 28 at 4:06 p.m., the time the first 911 call was received.