More than a hundred people gathered outside the Stafford County Government Center on Wednesday for a short service to remember Christopher Rapp, the county’s former public works director, who was killed in the Virginia Beach shootings last week.
“It’s a very emotional time for all of us,” said Gary Snellings, the chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors. “To see him — just a kind, gentle, unassuming man — leave this world the way he did is just horrific.”
Rapp’s successor, Jason Towery, was the assistant director when Rapp was there. He fought through tears to share his stories and respect for Rapp.
“He put other people first,” said Towery. “He was always thinking about the details. … He was able to balance the stress of working a job like this with the ability just to treat people like human beings.”
The Virginia Beach deaths “changed everything” about his perspective on mass shootings, Towery said afterward. “You see that person; you think about them. That’s not easy.”
“I think everybody views them with horror and sadness — I know I did,” Snellings said. “But, unless you have a personal connection, I don’t think you really understand how much damage that does to a family and a community — when it really comes home to you.”