‘It’s a virtue to be a cop’: Police chief addresses response to mass shooting in video

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — In a video intended for internal viewing by members of the Virginia Beach Police community, Chief Jim Cervera addressed the response to the recent mass shooting.

In the near 3-minute video, Cervera addresses the “virtues of policing,” saying that it is “a virtue to put yourself in harm’s way for people you have no connection to.”

“I’ve often talked about the virtues of policing. You know you’ve heard it many times.  it’s a virtue to be a cop.” 

Police responded to Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center Complex the evening of Friday, May 31. Gunman who opened fire at the building killed 12 people and injured four others.

11 of the people who died were city workers who had served the city for a combined 150 years.

“It’s been two weeks and now people are beginning to talk about a lot of the issues of the incident, such as the families, such as maybe what the city should have known, could have known — we’re getting all that.”

VBPD Chief Chief James Cervera

In the video, Cervera discussed the efforts of the officers who he said had to breach doors to reach some people, the officers who engaged in a gun battle with the suspect and the detectives who worked to identify the victims.

“From the police profession to you: you were excellent in your response, you were excellent in your aftermath, you’ve been excellent for care and compassion to the victims and all the victims’ families, and we thank you for that,” Cervera said.

Cervera notes the horrific severity of the gun battle, the complexity of it, the lives at stake and the lives lost. “I told a lot of people, think about this: That there is a gun battle going on, and officers at the other end of the hall are breaching doors to get victims out of rooms because we did not know if there was more than one gunman. Yeah, that is a virtue guys, and that’s what you did.” 

He also quickly mentions concerns of some family members who lost loved ones, “It’s been two weeks and now people are beginning to talk about a lot of the issues of the incident such as the families, such as maybe  what the city should have known, could have known, we are getting all that.” 

The chief spoke about the department-wide effort to neutralize the killer, bring comfort to families, and to find the path forward, “So from me to you. From the city to you, No, from the police profession to you, you are excellent in your response. You were excellent, and in the aftermath you have been excellent for care and compassion to all the victims and the victims’ families and we thank you for that.” 

10 On Your Side called to get comment from Chief Cervera, but he is out of town.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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