VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Dozens gathered outside Virginia Beach City Hall Wednesday night for a candlelight vigil to mark four years since the Virginia Beach Municipal Center mass shooting at Building 2 in which 12 people lost their lives.

Four years later, the pain, heartbreak and sadness that plagued Virginia Beach on May 31, 2019 lingers. It’s a moment Mayor Bobby Dyer said will be remembered every year – a time of healing and remembrance encompassing the spirit of Virginia Beach, and looking ahead to a new, permanent memorial designed by and for Virginia Beach.

“We don’t want any of the affected people to think that they’re alone,” Dyer said. “We’re with them in perpetuity.”

There were 12 blue lights that line the outside of Building 2 as the Virginia Aquarium will also be illuminated blue through Friday.

“The strongest people are the ones that are still kind after the world tore them apart,” said Sgt. Brian Ricardo of the Virginia Beach Police Department.

There was also a citywide moment of silence held at 4:06 p.m., which is when the first 911 call was made that day.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Wednesday on all state and local buildings to remember and honor the victims of the mass shooting.

The tragedy, which took place on May 31, 2019, in Municipal Building 2, took the lives of 12 people and seriously injured four others. Since that day, survivors and families of those victims have fought for justice and answers as they try to heal.

“Families and the victims are having to jump through hoops just to be treated with some dignity. They’re left shattered and in shambles,” said Jason Nixon, the husband of one of the victims, Kate Nixon.

Justin Fairfax, who is the attorney for the families of the victims, told 10 On Your Side in March that he and the families believe they have not gotten the whole truth about what occurred on the day of the mass shooting.

“We’ve been investigating this horrific mass murder. The 5/31 families have united to try and try and get to the truth and what we’ve found is that they have not gotten the full truth. They have not gotten all the answers they deserve about what happened that day,” Fairfax said.

Last month, the City approved a design for a permanent 5/31 memorial. The design includes open spaces, a reflecting pool, memorial wall, and walking trail.

The permanent memorial will be near the municipal center at the corner of Nimmo Parkway and Princess Anne Road.

To learn more about the vigil, and to learn about other ways residents can remembers the lives lost, visit the LoveForVB website.

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