By Frederick H. Lowe
The mass shooting in Virginia in which an African-American engineer killed 12 people, including 11 of his colleagues and a contractor, before being shot to death in a gun battle with police is the second deadly workplace shooting since February by a black man.
Other than the common denominator that both gunmen were black, the circumstances couldn’t be more different.
DeWayne Antonio Craddock, 40, walked into the Virginia Beach, Virginia, municipal building on Friday where he worked, and nothing seemed amiss. He told some of his co-workers to have a beautiful day before pulling out a .45 caliber pistol, fitted with a suppressor known as a silencer.
Armed with two pistols, he raced throughout the building, shooting some and walking away from others.
Craddock worked for Virginia Beach 15 years. He had a pristine work record. However, he resigned by email the morning of the deadly shootings without giving a reason.
This is unlike the fatal shooting that occurred in February in Aurora, Illinois, near Chicago, where Gary Martin,45,
who had been fired from his job as a large valve assembler for the Henry Pratt Co., shot to the death five of his former colleagues before police killed him in a shootout.
The company fired Martin for various workplace rule violations, said Sean Hall, CEO of Mueller Water Products, a Henry Pratt subsidiary.
Martin, a 15-year Henry Pratt employee, was depressed because he had lost his job, his sister, Tameka Martin, told the New York Times. He was armed with a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson pistol with a laser sight.
Job loss causes depression and anxiety because of a lack of money. For black men, it can be even worse because the unemployment rate is much higher for us compared with other racial and ethnic groups, the U.S. Bureau of the Labor Statistics reports.
It remains a mystery what set off Craddock.