"He did not hesitate to make sure that we were safe;" Virginia Beach shooting victim died saving coworkers

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WDBJ7) — When shots rang out throughout building two of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center Friday afternoon, Christi Dewar said her co-workers did not know which way to turn.

The employees could hear gunshots in the building. They tried to go out one exit, but someone told them it was “too late.”

Amidst chaos, Dewar said one of her long-time coworkers showed leadership.

Ryan Keith Cox gathered everyone near their break room. As the sound of the shots grew closer, Cox told seven people to go into an office. He barricaded them into the room with a filing cabinet. Instead of staying in safety, Cox left.

"Keith was standing there saying, ‘do not go any further — stop, get against the wall. Be quiet, be still,’” explained Dewar. “He said, ‘I have to go for more people,’ and that's the last time I saw him."

Dewar heard gunshots on the other side of the door, some loud bangs, and then the gunshots sounded farther away. The group guessed the shooter moved to a different floor. Her co-worker peaked outside.

"She was able to look out a little bit and she said, ‘Keith is on the ground. Keith is on the ground,’” said Dewar.

Cox started work on the same exact day as Dewar in 2006. She described him as the man who would always hold the elevator, who always knew how to make people smile and who gave "teddy bear" hugs. He died while making sure other people were safe.

“He is the type of person that you knew that he would give his life for somebody and that is what he did,” said Dewar. “He is the epitome of the way everybody should be on this Earth."

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