‘A kind soul’: Friends remember Powhatan man killed in Va. Beach shooting

Virginia News

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WRIC) — A Powhatan man died at the Virginia Beach mass shooting Friday.

Christopher Rapp died when his coworker opened fire in the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. Rapp, who was an engineer in public works had only been working in Virginia Beach for less than a year.

Rapp graduated from Old Dominion University in 1994 with a degree in Civil Engineering.

5 other victims in the shooting also attended or graduated from ODU, including the shooter.

Virginia Beach Police said a longtime city worker killed a dozen people and injured several others on Friday when he shot “indiscriminately” at his co-workers inside the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. 

Police have identified the victims as Laquita Brown, Tara Gallagher, Mary Gayle, Alexander Gusev, Katherine Nixon, Richard Nettleton, Ryan Cox, Joshua Hardy, Michelle Langer, Robert Williams and Herbert Snelling.

“It’s tragic, I don’t know what other words I can use,” said Carolyn Bishop. “It’s shocking, it’s tragic and I just can’t believe it.”

A very close family friend told 8News that she worked with Rapp and hired him as the Utilities Director of Powhatan County. Rapp was known by the woman who hired him for always smiling and working hard to help the community. 

“He worked for me for many years and was truly a kind soul,” Bishop said. 

“He also had this kindness to him, he was very, very ethical, extremely honest, you always knew you could trust everything Chris said, Chris did and he just was the whole person that you like to be around,” she continued. 

Even though she hired Rapp in 2007, former county administrator Carolyn Bishop built a close friendship with the man she says had a kind soul. Bishop told 8News when she heard the news that he was killed she couldn’t breathe.

“I’m having a very hard time with it,” Bishop said. “You know, you hear about these things on the news constantly and they’re always heartbreaking but when it happens in your hometown and one of the victims is somebody that you know and love its devastating, there are no words to really describe how I feel.”

Rapp was also a bagpiper in a band in Tidewater. He learned how to play in Richmond.

The Band Manager of Tidewater Pipes and Drums told 8News they are grieving the loss of their friend and bandmate.

“Chris came to Tidewater last fall but already had experience playing the bagpipes with our friends in Greater Richmond Pipes and Drums, so he jumped right into the band circle and started contributing immediately,” said Jim Roberts.

The band played at the Central Virginia Celtic Festival and Highland Games last October. Rapp recently marched with them for St. Patrick’s Day.

“Chris was reserved but very friendly, quietly engaging members one-on-one after our weekly practices,” Roberts said. “Even though we didn’t have time to get to know him better, we shared a love for music that created an immediate bond.”

The band said they have other members who work at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, luckily they were all OK.

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