FBI provides final briefing on the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooting
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has concluded its investigative assistance to the Virginia Beach Police Department regarding the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on May 31, 2019, and has provided a final verbal briefing to the police department.
At the request of VBPD, the FBI provided significant law enforcement assistance to the police department’s response and investigation of the incident. In the immediate aftermath, the bureau deployed crisis management and operational personnel to assist with the local response.
This included field Evidence Response Teams and experts from the FBI Laboratory who conducted a complex 10-day evidence recovery operation and forensic investigation of the crime scene in Municipal Center Building 2, and specialists from the Victim Services Division who were deployed to support victims, family members, and others impacted by the incident.
In support of the police department’s investigation, FBI agents conducted numerous victim and witness interviews, and computer experts examined digital evidence.
FBI assessment of attacker’s motivation
As part of the investigative team’s effort to determine the shooter’s motivation for the workplace attack, VBPD requested assistance from the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, based in Quantico.
BAU has completed its analysis of the information and evidence gathered throughout the investigation and shared its key findings with VBPD during the final briefing.
Following is the summary of BAU’s key findings:
- BAU assesses the shooter was motivated by perceived workplace grievances, which he fixated on for years. BAU found the shooter struggled with how he perceived his own work performance and how others at work viewed him. The shooter’s inflated sense of self-importance contributed to this conflict and led him to believe he was unjustly and repeatedly criticized and slighted. Violence was viewed by the shooter as a way to reconcile this conflict and restore his perverted view of justice.
- BAU assesses the shooter’s perceived grievances began taking shape as early as 2014, and he purposely isolated himself by disengaging from relationships to conceal his intentions. For this reason, BAU assesses that no individual or group was in a position to see the confluence of behaviors that may have forewarned the attack.
- BAU assesses that the shooter suffered from significant mental health stressors which appear to have contributed in part to his decompensation in advance of the attack; however mental health stressors alone cannot explain the Virginia Beach attack.
BAU further assesses that the Virginia Beach Municipal Center shooter is similar in many ways to other active shooters studied by the FBI. Mass shootings are a predatory act, generally with planned and purposeful violence intended for an identified target, person, place, or institution.