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Proof: Gun-Free Zone Policy Ensured Disarmed Victims in Virginia Beach

A law enforcement official stands at an entrance to a municipal building that was the scene of a shooting the day before in Virginia Beach, Va. Police responding to the deadly mass shooting were unable to confront the gunman at one point because they didn’t have the key cards needed to open doors on the second floor. Whether the delay contributed to the death toll is unclear, but the episode illustrated how door-lock technology that is supposed to protect people can hamper police and rescue workers in an emergency. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The shooter who murdered 12 people in a Virginia Beach municipal building on May 31 was enough of a concern to at least one fellow city employee that she considered bringing a firearm to work to protect herself the day of the shooting.

Kate Nixon was a city engineer who worked with the shooter. Her family’s attorney was interviewed on a local radio station yesterday.

As the Virginian-Pilot reports . . .

The public utilities engineer was concerned about DeWayne Craddock “as well as one other person,” said Kevin Martingayle, an attorney working with Nixon’s family. So on the night of May 30, Nixon had discussed with her husband, Jason, “whether or not she should take a pistol and hide it in her handbag,” Martingayle said. She decided against it because of a city policy that prevents employees from bringing weapons to work.

If Nixon had been caught at work with the firearm, she likely would have lost her job. She was one of those murdered during the shooting.

Julie Hill, a city spokeswoman, said she was not aware of Nixon’s concerns. Hill stressed that police are investigating all aspects of the shooting, including the information Martingayle has shared.

“We are going to make sure that we cover everything that is a part of that ongoing investigation,” she said.

The New York Times has reported that Craddock had recently begun acting strangely and got into physical “scuffles” with other city workers, including a “violent altercation on city grounds” in the week before the shooting. The Times also has reported he had been told that disciplinary action would be taken.

There seems to be some dispute about the shooter and his work history.

The Pilot has heard conflicting reports of such scuffles when interviewing city employees, and three said the information was inaccurate.

City Manager Dave Hansen has disputed the report, saying the gunman’s job performance was “satisfactory” and that he was not facing any ongoing disciplinary action or forced to resign.

In any case, as with so many employers both public and private, it was city policy that employees remain unarmed while at work.

There’s no way of knowing whether Nixon, had she taken her pistol to work that day, could have saved her own life or those of others. What’s clear is that, with everyone disarmed by policy, the shooter had no opposition at all, gunning down defenseless victims until police finally forced their way into the building.

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