State Sen. Bill DeSteph message to the City of Virginia Beach

Bill DeStephThis morning families woke up in a world without their loved ones. Many are at the hospital anxiously awaiting news of a friend or family member in surgery. Let us grieve with them and let us pray for them. In times like this, we must come together as a community and support one another. Our first duty is to care for the victims, their families, and all those affected by yesterday’s act of violence. My office and I stand ready in the days and weeks ahead to be of service to them and our entire community. This is what I know about Virginia Beach: we are resilient and strong. We will stand together against such violence.

During the incident, the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, and in the long night which followed, I have been struck by the professionalism and compassion of the Virginia Beach Police Department, Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office, first responders, and the public employees in Building 2 and throughout the Municipal Center. Their swift action saved many lives. Their bravery in the face of horrific tragedy, their capable response under extreme pressure, and their resolve to protect and serve their fellow citizens at any cost has shown them to be the best of what our city has to offer. We should be proud and grateful for the work they have done and continue to do.

In the midst of the chaos that ensued yesterday, a police officer was shot and wounded. Let us never forget the law enforcement officers and first responders who put themselves in harm’s way, stepping into the line of fire to defend their fellow citizens. I will continue to do everything I can to support our law enforcement community, including their family members. Thank you to the individuals and businesses who have sent food and resources to the officers monitoring the situation throughout the night. You represent community at its best.

This is a tragic hour for all of Virginia Beach. You never think this will happen in your community, to your neighbors. When it does, there is a deep sorrow, a pain which cannot forget, and a grief beyond words. There is a proper time to act, and there is also a proper time to mourn. Now is the time to mourn and care for the victims and their families. We will honor their loss with action, we will take steps to secure our community against this type of violence, and we will move forward towards healing as a closer, more unified city which bears this common grief.

Now we come together, in gratitude to our law enforcement officers and first responders, in prayer for the injured and the families of those lost, in resolve to work for a better tomorrow, and in the commitment that, together, we will overcome the darkness of this day.


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