Water industry mourns Virginia Beach shooting victims

Water industry associations and others across the sector are mourning the victims, many of whom were public utility employees, of the May 31 shooting in Virginia Beach, Va. that claimed the lives of 12 people.

Six of those who lost their lives in the attack worked for the City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities. The 11 city workers who were killed had collectively served their community for more than 150 years combined.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, the survivors and their families, and the entire Virginia Beach community in the tough days ahead,” said a statement from the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), of which the Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities is a member.

NACWA observed a moment of silence the morning of Monday, June 3, at the start of its Strategic Communications: H2O conference in Cleveland, in remembrance of the victims.

The American Water Works Association (AWWA) and its Virginia Section also extended its deepest condolences to all those affected by the tragedy. Both current and former AWWA members were among the lives lost in the shooting.

“The entire AWWA family grieves with Virginia Beach,” said AWWA President David Rager. “The victims and families of those lost and injured, our friends and colleagues at the Virginia Beach utilities, and the broader Virginia Beach community are on our minds and in our hearts.”

Many members of the Virginia Beach Public Utilities Department are active with AWWA and volunteers of the Virginia Section.

“The VA AWWA Board is deeply saddened by this terrible tragedy,” said Virginia Section Chair Tim Mitchell. “We extend our deepest condolences to all who have been impacted because of this horrific violence. There are few words that can comfort at a time like this but know you are in our thoughts and prayers.  We are not only colleagues but extended water family. VA AWWA continues to offer our unwavering support.”

The May 31 shooting is the second such tragedy to reach the U.S. waterworks industry this year. In February, five employees of valve manufacturer Henry Pratt Co. were killed and another injured when a gunman opened fire at one of the company’s manufacturing facilities in Aurora, Ill.

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