A woman who was killed in the Virginia Beach mass shooting on Friday was a Bakersfield native, according to a family member.

Katherine Nixon, who grew up in Bakersfield and was a Bakersfield High School graduate, was working as an engineer at the Department of Public Utilities when a longtime city employee opened fire on Friday and killed her along with 11 other people. Nixon was a wife and mother of three.

Nixon, 42, was the only person who didn’t die at the scene, according to the Virginia Beach Police Department. She died at an area hospital, and was the last person to die in the shooting.

Nixon’s grandmother, Claudia Blodget, said she heard about the shooting on the news at her home in Tehachapi and began getting concerned when she learned that it happened in the Public Utilities building.

Blodget said she reached out to some of Nixon’s other relatives, who told her that she had been shot. At around 10:15 p.m., Blodget said she learned that her granddaughter died during surgery.

“It was like somebody just punched me in the gut. That’s how I feel,” she said. “I watched this beautiful girl grow up. The world will never be the same. We lost one of the best.”

Nixon left behind her husband Jason and three daughters — Morgan, 11, Madilyn, 7, and Mckinzie, only 15 months old, Blodget said.

Nixon had worked for the city for the past 10 years, according to her LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, she worked at Choctaw Engineering in Florida from 2003 through 2006.

Nixon was born in Bakersfield to Robert and Julie Lusich. Blodget said she was the stepmother to Nixon's father, who died last year.

Julie Lusich currently lives in Colorado, according to Blodget.

When Nixon was a teenager at BHS, Blodget said she taught her granddaughter how to quilt, as Blodget owns the business 5 Heart Quilts in Tehachapi. It’s a memory that Blodget looks back on fondly.

“She was sweetness and light, a phenomenal person,” she said. “She was a wonderful mother, a wonderful wife.”

After Nixon graduated from Bakersfield High in 1994, she went on to get her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 2003 from California State University, Chico, the same college her dad attended. She then moved to Florida, where she met her husband.

Nixon followed in her family’s footsteps, as her father, grandfather and two uncles were all civil engineers, Blodget said. 

In addition to her husband and children, Nixon is survived by her mother as well as six siblings, Blodget said. She has an uncle and cousins who still live in Bakersfield. 

Joseph Luiz can be reached at 395-7368 or by email at jluiz@bakersfield.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @JLuiz_TBC. 

(2) comments


I remember her and her family from St. Phillip the Apostle Church. So sad


My sincere condolences to the family at this tragic and senseless loss, particularly for my friend Claudia. Also I note Ms. Nixon was a fellow Driller although a different class.

At the president's direction my flag is flying under light with a black banner until Tuesday sundown.

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