Another US mass shooting...city employee kills 12 inside Virginia Beach municipal office
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — The gunman who killed 12 people inside a municipal office building in the United States (US) city of Virginia Beach has been identified as a 15-year city employee who had served in the military.
Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera says the gunman is DeWayne Craddock, who was employed as an engineer with the city’s public utilities department.
Cervera declined to comment on a motive for the rampage, which also left four people injured.
Craddock was killed in a “long gun battle” with police, Cervera said.
Neighbours described him as a quiet person who rarely smiled.
Among those injured was a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, Cervera confirmed.
The city’s visibly shaken mayor, Bobby Dyer, called it “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.”
The wild shooting, which started shortly after 4p.m., sent terrified co-workers scrambling for cover.
According to Cervera, Craddock entered the building, located in the Municipal Centre, and “immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all of the victims.”
The police chief said cops entered the building and got out as many employees as they could before exchanging gunfire with the suspect, who was armed with a .45-calibre handgun.
“It was a long gun battle between those four officers and the suspect,” he said.
Cervera said his officers gave the suspect first aid after he was shot, but he later succumbed to his injuries.
The shooting sent shock waves through Virginia Beach, the state’s largest city and a popular vacation spot in southeastern Virginia.
The shooting took place is in a suburban complex located miles away from the high-rise hotels along the beach and the downtown business area.
Virginia Governor. Ralph Northam said in a statement he was devastated by the “unspeakable, senseless violence” and is offering the state’s full support to survivors and relatives of the victims.
“That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy,” the governor said during the news conference.
The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and was monitoring the situation.
Megan Banton, an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened, said she heard gunshots, called 911 and barricaded herself and about 20 colleagues inside an office, pushing a desk against a door.
“We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe. We were all just terrified. It felt like it wasn’t real, like we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you can hear is the gunshots,” Banton said.