This is the crazed gunman who ‘brushed his teeth and chatted to a colleague’ before ‘indiscriminately’ shooting dead 12 innocent workers and dying in a police gun battle at the Virginia Beach municipal center on Friday.
DeWayne Craddock, 40, has been described as a ‘loner ex-National Guardsman’ who had worked for the city for 15 years.
He was wielding two .45 caliber pistols, purchased legally in 2016 and 2018, during the massacre while a warrant search of his home revealed two further legal handguns. Police continue to refuse to say whether there was an intended target or motive to the attack.
Bizarrely, just moments before going on the shooting rampage, Craddock was spotted brushing his teeth in the office restrooms where he exchanged pleasantries with a colleague and wished him a good weekend.
Joseph Scott, an engineering technician with the department of public works, said: ‘He was in there brushing his teeth, which he always did after he ate. I said “Hey, how you doing? What are you doing this weekend?” It was just a brief conversation.
‘I’m sure I’m going to hear all kinds of things about DeWayne, but I liked him,’ Scott told CNN. ‘I worked with him. He was what I thought was a good person. When we were together, we would talk about family, friends, things that we were going to do, trips we were going to take and things like that.’
Scott said he worked with Craddock, whom a Virginia government source has called a ‘disgruntled employee,’ for several years. Scott said he doesn’t want the shooter ‘painted as an evil person’ adding that ‘something happened, but it wasn’t his nature.’
Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen said at a press conference Saturday that Craddock was employed by the city for 15 years as an engineer, and that Craddock was still employed at the time of the shooting, meaning he possessed a security pass allowing him access to nonpublic areas of the municipal building.
Neither Hansen nor Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera would comment on whether Craddock was facing disciplinary or termination proceedings at the time of the shooting.
Craddock enlisted in the Virginia National Guard in April 1996, according to spokesman A.A. Puryear, after graduating in 1996 from Denbigh High School in Newport News. He was assigned to the Norfolk-based 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team as a 13B cannon crew member.
After studying civil engineering at Old Dominion University he started at the Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities.
A press conference at 3pm Saturday gave further insight to the shooter, who began his rampage at around 4pm Friday.
A city spokesperson said: ‘Virginia beach is a city of heroes, the strength is the people and there’s no doubt going forward we will define ourselves s a city of love and compassion. This is going to be a long term thing.’
Neighbors told WAVY Craddock kept to himself. Cassetty Howerin said: ‘You heard him walking around; he would drop stuff at like 2 a.m., and me and my roommate would try to figure out what he was doing.
‘In the year I’ve been there, we’ve maybe had three conversations and that’s about it. I know what gym he goes to. That’s about it.
‘I never saw him take trash out, never saw him bring groceries in, never saw people coming in or out. He was very to himself.’
Another neighbor – Clarisa Morel, 22, – told CNN Craddock was in front of his apartment with two others smoking what smelled like marijuana around two months ago.
She added: ‘He catcalled me. He said, ‘Oh, hey girl, how you doing,’ stuff like that. I was intimidated by him. I know when I’m uneasy about people.’
Craddock’s department director, Bob Montague, told The Washington Post: ‘There is no answer to explain an event like this.’
His family posted this note on their front door: ‘The family of DeWayne Craddock wishes to send our heart felt condolences to the victims. We are grieving the loss of our loved one.
‘At this time we wish to focus on the victims and the lives loss during yesterdays tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who loss their lives, and those recovering in the hospital.’
SOURCE: LAUREN FRUEN and ROD ARDEHALI