VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Stalled state budget negotiations in Virginia are creating some uncertainty for the state commission investigating Virginia Beach’s mass shooting.
Wednesday afternoon, the commission met to again hear from survivors of May 31, 2019. On that day, a city engineer shot and killed 12 people and injured four others before being killed by police himself at Building 2 at the city’s municipal center.
Right now, the commission’s final report is due at the end of June, when the nearly $80,000 of funding runs out.
However, after a push from victims’ family members, the chair of appropriations for the House of Delegates, Del. Barry Knight (R-Virginia Beach), told 10 On Your Side he would push for the commission to be extended.
The problem is, the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate have yet to agree on a final biannual budget to send to Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-Va.)
The chair of the 21-member commission says he’s prepared for both scenarios.
“We don’t want to rush it. However, we are cognizant of the deadline, so certainly if it was to be extended that would give us more time. If not not within our power to meet that deadline,” said Ryan Washington, chair of the VB Mass Shooting Commission.
Wording included in the state budget charges the state commission to investigate the underlying motive for the shooting by looking into the gunman’s personal background and entire prior employment history with the city, including his interactions with coworkers and supervisors. The final report should “determine how the gunman was able to carry out his actions,” identify any obstacles first responders faced, and identify and examine the security in place immediately prior to the shooting.
Many of those answers have already been detailed in two other investigations. Both the Virginia Beach Police Department and investigators with independent contractor Hillard Heintze said they could come to no conclusive motive. A later report-out from the FBI found Craddock was motivated by long-term “perceived workplace grievances” and “significant mental health stressors” before carrying out the attack.
Washington said the commissioners’ chief focus is on looking at post-shooting communications between police detectives and the families of the victims and putting forward recommendations on how to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.
“There are some policies that we know now the General Assembly and localities could consider,” Washington said. “If we have more time, we’ll go more in-depth.”