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Authorities Investigate Virginia Beach Shooting


We begin this hour in Virginia Beach. The FBI is now leading the investigation into what led a gunman to kill 12 people Friday afternoon. NPR's Bobby Allen is there.

Good morning, Bobby.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Hey. Good morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You've just heard the latest briefing from the city, I understand. What did they tell you?

ALLYN: Everyone here wants to know why; why this shooter carried out this act at his place of employment. And while officials didn't offer a complete answer yet, they did say the gunman resigned shortly before he carried out the shooting. Before they revealed that, the officials were asked, you know, was this gunman fired or was he forced out? And they said no. But they did admit that he put in his two-week notice before he carried out this violent act. And, you know, right now investigators are trying to figure out, was there tension? Was there a dispute? Was there some sort of drama at work? And if, so how did that play into his decision to carry out this awful shooting?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I gather that families and friends of the victims are starting to plan vigils and memorials. Is there any more you can say about how those affected by the shooting are doing?

ALLYN: Officials here are really concerned that victims' families won't have enough support, so they're really bolstering all their services across the board in terms of counseling, in terms of free meals for some of these families. And the city is helping them plan funerals as well. And I found that some who survived who maybe were reticent before or still processing are now really starting to open up, like Christi Dewar. It was just before the end of the day Friday when the thunderous pops rang out. At first, she wasn't alarmed.

CHRISTI DEWAR: The city has classes on active shooting. And when the three women from the front came running in, saying active shooter in the building, we all thought it was a drill.

ALLYN: She would find out soon that it was not a drill. Ryan Keith Cox was one of her closest friends and colleagues. She says Cox was looking to find safe hideouts for others when she lost track of him. She remembers talking with a police officer through a closed door.

DEWAR: And he said, no, don't come out. It's still not secure. And one of the girls had tried to get out. And she started screaming, Keith is on the ground. Keith is on the ground.

ALLYN: Dewar and Cox were really close. They both worked at Virginia Public Utilities.

DEWAR: I called him my big teddy bear. Every time I was upset about something, he gave me a hug. If he knew I was ticked off about something, he knew exactly what to say to make you smile. He was the type of person that you know he would lay down his life for you, and that's exactly what he did.

ALLYN: Dewar says the gunman was polite, soft-spoken and showed no warning signs of being troubled. As investigators sift through the evidence, one major question will be, could safety measures have prevented this tragedy? Dewar, who has worked for the city for nearly 13 years, think so. And she wants to see action.

DEWAR: Every city office should have metal detector doors. They should have security guards on all entrances. I would be more than happy to go through a search every single day if it kept from this ever happening again.

ALLYN: Investigators won't say when the yellow crime scene tape will be taken down and operations resumed at the government offices. I asked the police chief if boosted security or installed metal detectors are on the table. And he said not right now, but that doesn't mean it's been ruled out.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's NPR's Bobby Allyn.

Thank you so much.

ALLYN: Hey, thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Bobby Allyn is a business reporter at NPR based in San Francisco. He covers technology and how Silicon Valley's largest companies are transforming how we live and reshaping society.