VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) -State and city officials are asking some tough questions about the many issues the Virginia Beach Mass Shooting has been having, one of them being that 10 of their 21 members have resigned.
10 On Your Side obtained two letters, one from the State Attorney General and one from one of the 10 commissioners that resigned, detailing the frustration, distrust, obstruction, negligence, and obstacles that are occurring within the commission.
Jason Nixon, whose wife Kate Nixon was one of the 12 people killed inside building two on May 31, 2019, says he has been more critical of the process of investigating what happened that day.
“Family members have fallen off the wayside because they feel distraught, and they don’t feel the city and the state are going to do anything anymore,” explained Nixon. “They are throwing up their arms, we give up. They are beat down.”
Nixon explains how upsetting it is for him to see that the commission is having members.
“It’s a frustrating waste of time. They don’t have enough support to get the things they need to get done. You can’t have an investigation if you don’t have information,” Nixon said. “The City of Virginia Beach is stonewalling.”
These feelings from family members lead State Attorney General Jason Miyares to write a letter to the city and the head of the commission stating that there is a general lack of corporation that has led to almost half of their resigning.
“The families are extremely disappointed with the City of Virginia Beach because they still have so many questions, after three years…we still have so many unanswered questions,” says Miyares. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant I know. Virginia Beach, I think they have been cooperative, but the families do not feel that way at all.”
Miyares also spoke about the resignation of commission members and said that it is heartbreaking to see them not have the resources to be able to do their job.
“It was so disappointing to me to see the member of the commissioners failing to give it the seriousness it deserved. They did not have a quorum to get briefed by the FBI at their recent meeting. That broke my heart,” said Miyares.
A letter written to Miyares from one of the resigned commission members stated:
In my opinion, manipulative attempts have been made to stifle information-seeking.I have concerns the Commission’s work is being obstructed from within, either deliberately or due to negligence.
When WAVY asked Miyares about the letter from the resigned commission member, he said concerns made in the letter were similar to those that family members have made.
“I have seen that letter, and that is similar to what family members have expressed to me,” said Miyares. “There has been information sought that was denied to them, and now it is time to get to the truth.”
The Director of Communications for the City of Virginia Beach sent the following statement to 10 On Your Side as a response to Miyares letter:
We understand and agree that the public has a right to look further into what transpired on that tragic day, and we are equally as disappointed with what this letter revealed about the status of the Commission.
We have and will partner with any investigation or request for information in support of this effort while recovery and memorial planning efforts continue.Tiffany Russell, Director of Communications for the City of Virginia Beach
Governor Glenn Youngkin confirmed with 10 On Your Side that he has put $10 million in his budget for the Mass Violence Victims Fund
“One of the things I’ve put in my budget proposal, I have included $10 million dollars in a fund to support victims to make sure we cover some of the costs they incur,” Youngkin told WAVY.
Giving the commission the power to subpoena witnesses under a judge’s order is thought to be the best way to get the truth. However, to do that you need General Assembly approval when the legislative body reconvenes in January.