Monday marked the return of business as usual for residents, workers, and students in Virginia Beach.
Of course, even though the city was aiming for "normalcy," as the city's public school Superintendent Aaron Spence put it to USA Today, that was a nearly impossible task. Monday was instead marked by memorial services, government building closures, and other moments of remembrance for the 12 victims of Friday's mass shooting.
A city employee opened fire in Virginia Beach's municipal building on Friday afternoon, killing 12 people, most of whom were also city employees. Stories of all those victims began to spread over the weekend, including one of longtime public utility worker Ryan Keith Cox. When the shooting started, Cox and several other coworkers barricaded themselves in a break room. But Cox soon went back out, saying he needed to "see if anybody else needs help," his coworker tells The Virginian Pilot-Online.
Cox was among the employees remembered at a memorial service at Virginia Beach's convention center Monday morning. City employees wrote messages on rocks at the gathering, and they'll be used to build a memorial garden at the municipal center. The municipal center's building 2, where the shooting happened, will be closed indefinitely, though a wall of flowers and tributes had already grown outside. After a day off, the rest of the center will reopen Tuesday. City schools were open Monday after teaching teams had gathered to prepare coping messages and strategies for students over the weekend.