VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WRIC) — State lawmakers sent letters to the Virginia Beach City Council requesting that an independent investigation be immediately opened into last month’s mass shooting in a municipal building. The letter, sent by two local lawmakers, was shared with 8News.
Del. Cheryl B. Turpin (D-Virginia Beach) and Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) sent letters to council members Monday in hopes that the city council takes “the lead in conducting an immediate comprehensive and transparent third party investigation,” into the shooting that claimed the lives of 12 people.
Turpin and Convirs-Fowler cited several concerns, including first responders inability to get inside the building during the shooting because of the electronic locks and “communication failures and delays,” as a reason behind their request for an investigation.
“This information leads us to conclude that it is necessary and appropriate that City Council take the lead in conducting a comprehensive investigation into the relevant events that occurred before, during and after this mass murder in a government building,” the letter states.
Last week, the city released an update on the investigation into the shooting. While more than 300 interviews have been completed, the city said more must be conducted and there is no time frame on when the investigation will be finished.
“There are two resolutions that will be presented regarding the request for an independent investigation during City Council’s workshop scheduled tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. The resolutions will be placed on the agenda for the City Council meeting that will take Tuesday, July 2, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.,” Councilmember Sabrina Wooten told 8News in an email.
Another member of the city council, Michael F. Berlucchi, said he supports an independent investigation.
“I fully support a qualified, third party to conduct a complete independent investigation. I am sensitive to and respectful of the feelings of family and friends of victims and to requests from the public for greater transparency. It is important for all of us to know what happened and to have complete confidence in the investigation’s conclusions so that we can grieve and heal,” Berlucchi wrote in an email to 8News.
“I also respect the work being conducted by law enforcement professionals and believe it is important to maintain the integrity of their efforts. When considering my position on the timeline of an independent investigation, I am looking for assurances that the independent effort would not disrupt or interfere with the work of law enforcement professionals who are currently engaged in executing a criminal investigation.”
Stay with 8News for updates to this developing story.