Firm conducting independent VB shooting investigation provides first update

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The firm hired to conduct an independent investigation into the Virginia Beach mass shooting provided its first update Tuesday afternoon.

This is day 40 since the independent investigators came on board. There were no conclusions announced or any big news on developments in the investigation. It was an update on documents received and how those documents can be used to connect the dots on what happened May 31.

Hillard Heintze CEO Arnette Heintze said during Tuesday’s update they are analyzing 6,500 documents and thousands of emails.

The investigative team has conducted over 90 interviews with city workers and has met with four family members of victims in the shooting, Heintze said.

The independent investigation will focus on behavior clues from those documents and what led to unspeakable terror. “We need to understand a person’s diabolical path,” Heintze said. “Our thoughtful approach on how we determine whether a person is on a path to violence, and we need to understand motive, and factors that influence that decision.” 

The questions was there a toxic work environment, a toxic home life, a toxic personal life.

Heintze continued, “On that day what were the life stressers? Have there been any significant family issues that drove him to the action that day? What about work wise, was it something at work that drove him to that action?” 

The family of Bert Snelling, who was a private contractor and the only non-city employee killed that day not a city employee, showed up and they aren’t happy. They claim the city has failed to reach out to them, and so have the independent investigators. Heintze showed great concern about that. 

Snelling’s wife Sonja said to Heintze, “I just want you to understand we feel very dishonored and my husband very dishonored. We feel disrespected. Like I said he was born and raised in this city and he has done a lot for this city, and we feel like we are just pushed aside and I’m sorry.”

The Snellings left City Hall with what they came for: to get the police investigators and the independent investigators to listen to them. They had a 90-minute meeting with Arnette Heintze and we are told Police Chief Jim Cervera met with them too.  

Earlier this summer, Hillard Heintze conducted two listening sessions for the community as well as Virginia Beach employees.

In an agreement with city council, Hillard Heintze says it is “committed to safeguard independence and public confidence” in regards to the investigation of the shooting.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Remembering the Victims Slideshow

Remembering the Victims

Trending Stories

Don't Miss

WAVY Twitter Widget

***Don’t Miss Module Removal CSS***

WAVY Facebook