VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Two local delegates are moving forward to sponsor a resolution for a commission to study the Virginia Beach mass shooting.
Delegates Jason Miyares, a Republican who represents Virginia’s 82nd District, and Kelly Convirs-Fowler, a Democrat who represents the 21st District, are sponsoring HB 658, which would establish an independent commission to investigate the May 31, 2019, mass shooting.
Under the bill, the commission will consist of 21 members who will investigate the underlying motive for the shooting, the gunman’s entire prior employment history with the City of Virginia Beach and his interactions with coworkers and supervisors, among a number of other factors.
After a nearly four-month long independent investigation, Chicago-based firm Hillard Heintze, which was selected to investigate the tragedy, shared the conclusion of its report into the shooting with the Virginia Beach City Council in November.
“Delegate Miyares and I are sponsoring this resolution because we want to do everything possible to keep Virginia Beach employees and citizens safe. We will do everything in our power to prevent or minimize a tragedy of this nature from ever happening again,” Convirs-Fower said in a statement.
Miyares added, “I welcome a bipartisan state investigation that brings a new set of eyes to investigate and examine what remains as one of the darkest chapters in our city’s history. This sate initiative is similar to the state commission that investigated the shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007. Having another perspective is critical as we move forward to both heal and to prevent future tragedies.”
The delegates say the goal of the state investigation is to gain a full understanding of the mass shooting in order to minimize the risk of such a tragedy ever happening again. It will be an objective incident review that will make recommendations regarding improvements that can be made in the Commonwealth’s laws, policies, procedures, systems, institutions as well as those other governmental agencies and private providers.
Debbie Langer Borato, the sister of mass shooting victim Michelle “Missy” Langer, issued a statement after the announcement.
“I am issuing a statement on behalf of my sister, Michelle Marie Langer, and 11 other victims as well as those injured. I want to validate the new investigation… Please bring families, employees and the victims themselves peace.”
“I do not want to ever see some go through what me and my family has had to endure. Currently nothing has changed… I fear if we do not learn… they will be doomed to repeat this tragedy again,” he said.
News 3 reporter spoke with Nixon after Hillard Heintze’s report. He said he was disappointed and angry by the firm’s findings.