ODU is dedicating a permanent memorial to Municipal Center mass shooting victims

NORFOLK — In front of about 150 people who gathered Wednesday to honor the 12 lives lost in the May 31 Municipal Center shooting, officials at Old Dominion University announced a permanent memorial is in the works.

University President John R. Broderick, Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer, and Virginia Beach Police Deputy Chief Patrick Gallagher were among those who attended the vigil in the university’s WEBB Center.

Joy Jefferson, alumni relations associate vice president, said establishing a permanent memorial was a natural reaction from the University’s Alumni Association — five of the victims were former ODU students.

“We want to honor the Monarch family and this was a way to do it,” she said.

ODU’s Alumni Association will sponsor the project and is working with the university’s facilities department in the creative process.

Jefferson said the design is yet to be finalized but know they’ll “plant a tree and position a bench near the tree with a plaque listing the names of the 12 victims.”

She said they’re considering ODU’s Kauffman Mall, a central area, as a final location for the memorial, but are also considering the site outside of the Engineering Systems Building as a nod to Tara Welch Gallager, Alexander Gusev, and Christopher Rapp who earned their Civil Engineering degrees from ODU.

Jefferson said they’re still in the beginning planning stages but the memorial is expected to be unveiled in a ceremony during Homecoming week in October.

“The Association received an outpouring of love and concern for the victims and their families and we thought it was only fitting to recognize and honor them in a tangible and long-lasting way,” she said.

On May 31, 12 people were killed and four more were injured in a shooting inside Building 2 at Virginia Beach’s Municipal Center.

Among the dead are the three ODU alumni engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands and three right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines. Others included an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant and a special projects coordinator.

(Southside Daily/ Courtesy of Virginia Beach Police Department)

Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera identified the shooter, who died in a gunbattle with police, as a longtime city employee who worked as an engineer in the Municipal Complex. The shooter sent an emailed resignation letter to his boss just hours before the shooting.

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