CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Mayor Rick West is emotional thinking about the past week.  

He says this was a very dark moment, and the candlelight vigil Monday night allowed for people to light the darkness. WAVY asked him on a personal note how this has impacted him.

“Well, it,” as the mayor pauses catching his emotion, “it is a whole lot easier when you are busy doing stuff. When you stop and think, and when you ask the question like that, it hits you, and it hits you hard.” 

The Chesapeake City Council met in special session Monday to declare a state of emergency. It was over before it began, and the council was unified in service to the victims and their families. 

“The state of emergency will do two things,” West said. “Number one, it will make it legal for the city to apply for reimbursements for expenses from the emergency cost of the shooting at Walmart.” 

West says the second thing is that it will speed up the reimbursement of what the city spends, which he says is about $25,000, mostly on overtime.

“We don’t know at the point what funds are available or where they would come from, we are just told they are available.” 

The Chesapeake Department of Human Services was assigned the responsibility of setting up the unification center for victims, families and others affected by the tragedy.

“We provided primarily emotional support counseling if necessary and letting them know we are here for them,” West said. 

Human Services reported to us the department is supporting Walmart to provide mental health counseling to those impacted.

West says the Walmart mass shooting is not only the worst event in his tenure as mayor, but it’s also considered the worst event in Chesapeake’s history.