Numbers on panel examining Va. Beach mass shooting dwindle

Dec 10, 2022, 11:15 PM | Updated: Dec 11, 2022, 3:03 pm
FILE - A makeshift memorial rests at the edge of a police cordon in front of a municipal building t...

FILE - A makeshift memorial rests at the edge of a police cordon in front of a municipal building that was the scene of a shooting in Virginia Beach, Va., June 1, 2019. Several members of a state commission tasked with conducting an independent investigation of the 2019 mass shooting in Virginia Beach, have stepped down in recent months in the latter part of 2022, raising doubts among some whether the panel can perform its job. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Several members of a state commission tasked with conducting an independent investigation of a 2019 mass shooting in Virginia Beach, Virginia, have stepped down in recent months — raising doubts among some whether the panel can perform its job.

The Virginia Beach Mass Shooting Commission began with 21 members, but 10 members have resigned, according to a spokesperson for the state office that oversees the panel.

Some current and former members have expressed frustrations with the way the investigation into the shooting has been handled, suggesting that efforts could be intentionally impeded to shield the city, The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported.

“We have lost 10 people; I am quite upset about it,” said current member David Cariens, telling the newspaper that most have left in the past six months.

“I think there are people on the commission who do not want to be aggressive in investigating,” Cariens added. “The net result of their lack of enthusiasm to investigate is that it does protect the city.”

A city engineer fatally shot 12 people and wounded four others on May 31, 2019, at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center before he was killed by police. The commission’s charge in part is to recommend improvements to Virginia’s laws, policies and other areas to minimize the risk for future shootings.

Kate Hourin, communications director for the Office of the State Inspector General, which oversees the commission, confirmed the 10 resignations last week but declined to comment further.

Commission chairman Ryant Washington said some members left the volunteer positions due to family matters or because it was interfering with their jobs.

Washington, a former Fluvanna County sheriff and state law enforcement administrator, said he hopes the vacancies will be filled but that the commission’s work will continue regardless. The group meets about once a month in Richmond.

“There are many of us who are working diligently,” he said. “We are trying to do what is set before us and I think we will continue to do that.”

Rebecca Cowan, who resigned from the commission last month, wrote to Attorney General Jason Miyares and Virginia Beach Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler about her concerns in an email. Miyares, then another Virginia Beach delegate, and Convirs-Fowler pushed to create the state commission in 2020.

Cowan wrote that efforts to obtain necessary information were met with resistance from the city and some commission members.

“In my opinion, manipulative attempts have been made to stifle information-seeking,” she wrote. “I have concerns that the commission’s work is being obstructed from within, either deliberately or due to negligence.”

Miyares and Convirs-Fowler didn’t respond Friday to a request for comment from the newspaper.

Vice Chairman Robert “Butch” Bracknell said the panel would benefit from more state support, such as the addition of full-time staff members.

Jason Nixon, whose wife, Kate, was killed in the shooting, said he’s been deeply disappointed with the commission and no longer has faith in its work.

“It’s embarrassing for the state of Virginia,” Nixon said. “They should be ashamed of themselves to allow this to go on.”

The FBI said in June 2021 that its investigation determined the employee who conducted the shooting rampage “was motivated by perceived workplace grievances” that “he fixated on for years.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - The Starbucks logo is seen on a storefront, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in Boston Starbucks repor...
Associated Press

Starbucks misses sales, revenue estimates as China falters

Starbucks reported lower-than-expected sales in its fiscal first quarter, with COVID store shutdowns in China overshadowing stronger results elsewhere.
20 hours ago
The Amazon DTW1 fulfillment center is shown in Romulus, Mich., April 1, 2020. Amazon reports financ...
Associated Press

Amazon beats Q4 revenue estimates, but profits slump

Amazon on Thursday reported worse-than-expected profits, but its revenue beat expectations boosted by sales in North America businesses and the cloud-computing unit AWS.
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Washington’s low-income tax credit available for first time

 Up to $1,200 is now available for thousands of low-income working Washington residents, thanks to a 2008 law that has finally been funded.
20 hours ago
Associated Press

N. Carolina Supreme Court to rehear voter ID, redistricting

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The new Republican majority on North Carolina’s Supreme Court agreed on Friday to rehear redistricting and voter identification cases less than two months after the court’s previous edition, led by Democrats, issued major opinions going against GOP legislators who had been sued. The extraordinary decisions, granted in orders backed by five […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Participants smile as they march with a banner during the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade celebra...
Associated Press

Japanese prime minister’s aide leaving over LGBTQ remarks

TOKYO (AP) — A senior aide to Japan’s prime minister is being dismissed after making discriminatory remarks about LGBTQ people. Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters Saturday that Masayoshi Arai, a secretary at his office, was being dismissed after Arai recently told Japanese media he did not like seeing LGBTQ people. Arai had retracted his […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

New California oil well ban put on hold for voters to decide

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s new law banning new oil and gas wells near homes, schools and other community sites has been put on hold until after voters decide next year whether to throw it out, officials announced Friday. Opponents of Senate Bill 1137 gathered more than 623,000 valid voter signatures to put a referendum […]
20 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Numbers on panel examining Va. Beach mass shooting dwindle