Plans to memorialize the one-year anniversary of the shooting have changed.

COVID-19 and social distancing have not stopped the City of Virginia Beach from continuing to honor the one-year anniversary of the tragic mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on May 31, but the plans have drastically changed. One year ago, 12 people were killed, four injured, and a first responding police officer was shot.

Instead of a big in-person memorial, there will be at-home activities that have thoughtfully been planned for the weekend of May 29-31, all within the theme, Lighting the Path: Together We Remember.”

What You Can Do at Home

  • Wear blue throughout the weekend: The color blue was adopted by the city after the massacre; it is the color most associated with first responders and also remembrance. 
  • Plant forget-me-nots: This flower is a perennial, and it will provide a beautiful reminder of those we lost (check your local hardware and garden stores for purchase). It signifies remembrance. The City created its own version of the flower with 17 petals—one for each of the victims. The 12 blue petals represent those we lost, the four inner center white petals represent those who were severely injured, and the blue dot in the center of the flower represents the first responding police officer who was shot and thankfully survived that day. 
  • Place a vase of forget-me-nots on your front porch or in a window: Call your local florist for availability, as they happen to be in season.

Forget-Me-Not Flowers Virginia Beach Mass Shooting One Year Anniversary Flower Rememberance 2020

Courtesy of Instagram

VB Strong Remembering Virginia Beach Mass Shooting 1 year later

Courtesy of The City of Virginia Beach

  •  Light up your home in blue and white: 
    • Remember to turn on your front porch lights every evening during the weekend. You can purchase blue light bulbs, string lights, and porch ceiling lights at your local hardware store.  

Blue Light Memorial for Victims of Virginia Beach Mass Shooting One year Later May 31

Courtesy of Instagram

May 29-31,2020

Friday, May 29

  • Place forget-me-not display in your window for the weekend
  • Add the forget-me-not social media frame to your Facebook profile photo for the weekend
  • 4:06 p.m.: Take a moment of silence wherever you are, the approximate time the shootings started 
  • "Lighting the Path: Together We Remember" Tribute installation of forget-me-not bouquets at Building 2 and at Mount Trashmore

Sunday, May 31

  • Click here for a Live Online Remembrance Ceremony at 4:06 p.m.
  • Click here for additional Live Events

Additional virtual tributes are still being added, so be sure to check their website again.

Remembering the Victims of May 31, One Year Later

Virginia Beach Mass Shooting Victims 2019 One Year Anniversary of 2020
Photos Courtesy of The City of Virginia Beach

The 12 victims of The Office of Public Works and Utilities, starting from the top left (details courtesy of

Laquita C. Brown | Age: 39 | Right-of-Way Agent | 4.5 years
Tara Welch Gallagher | Age: 39 | Engineer | 6 years
Mary Louise Gayle | Age: 65 | Right-of-Way Agent | 24 years
Alexander Mikhail Gusev | Age: 35 | Right-of-Way Agent | 9 years
Katherine A. Nixon | Age: 42 | Engineer | 10 years
Richard H. Nettleton | Age: 65 | Engineer | 28 years
Christopher "Chris" Kelly Rapp | Age: 54 | Engineer | 11 Months
Ryan Keith Cox | Age: 50 | Account Clerk| 12.5 years
Joshua A. Hardy | Age: 52 | Engineering Technician | 4.5 years
Michelle "Missy" Langer | Age: 60 | Administrative Assistant | 12 years
Robert "Bobby" Williams | Age: 72 | Special Projects Coordinator | 41 years
Herbert "Bert" Snelling |  Age: 57 | Contractor at Building 2 applying for a permit

Getting Help

This weekend of remembrance could be quite difficult, as the events of that awful day affected the entire community. Therefore, if you or someone you know is struggling, click here for The VB Strong Center or call 757-507-7200. The center was developed specifically for all who were impacted by the mass shootings at the Municipal Center. Professionals are available 24/7.