Hundreds remember Katherine ‘Kate’ Nixon as services begin for Virginia Beach shooting victims

Hundreds packed into a Catholic church in Virginia Beach on Thursday to remember one of the 12 victims of last week’s mass shooting in a city municipal building.

The service to remember Katherine “Kate” Nixon, a married mother of three, was among the first for the victims, ushering in the next wave of grief for a city still reeling from the worst mass shooting of 2019. 

“We hope that now she’s enjoying the Heavenly Father’s blessing,” Eric Vogt, pastor of St. Gregory the Great, said during the homily. 

Nixon, 42, was a compliance manager in the city’s public utilities division and held a degree in civil engineering, advocating for other women pursuing careers in the same field. 

She was also a regular churchgoer, remembered for her sincere wishes of peace to other parishioners around her during Tuesday Bible studies and Sunday Mass, Vogt said.

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Her younger brother, Matthew Lusich, said Nixon was the second oldest of eight siblings and emerged as a natural leader in the family.

She met her future husband in Florida while she was still living in California, but wrote him letters every day adorned with Disney characters. Later, the entire family moved Nixon there, traveling together across Interstate 10. 

“That’s how important Kate was to us,” Lusich said. 

Family and friends watch as the casket of Virginia Beach shooting victim Katherine Nixon is wheeled to a hearse after a funeral service at St. Gregory The Great Catholic Church in Virginia Beach , VA Thursday, June 6, 2019. Nixon was killed along with eleven others during a mass shooting last Friday. (Photo: Steve Helber, AP)

Nixon and her husband later settled in Virginia Beach. Lusich said he admired his sister’s willingness to move away from Bakersfield, California, to pursue what she truly wanted from life. 

“That fearlessness and strength … showed leadership and inspiration to me,” he said. “If Kate can be fearless, I’ll be fearless like Kate.”

Services for other victims are scheduled through Sunday.

Brent Hobbs, 61, worked with Nixon and attended her funeral mass to show respect to her and her family. 

“She was a great lady,” he said. “Always had a smile on her face.”

‘Got to see if anybody else needs help’:Virginia Beach shooting hero died trying to save others

More: Virginia Beach victims remembered with songs and sermons at vigils 

The Virginia Beach Municipal Center reopened on Tuesday. However, Building 2, where the shooting took place, will remain closed indefinitely, city officials say. 

Authorities are still trying to determine a motive for the shootings. The suspect, a 15-year veteran of public works and a civil engineer, was killed in a shootout with police.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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