According to Virginia Beach’s police chief, a longtime city employee opened fire at the municipal center in Virginia Beach.
The gunman, who was a public utilities employee at the center, died at the scene, according to Virginia Beach police Chief Jim Cervera.
The town’s mayor said the shooting was “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.”
12 dead at Virginia Beach municipal center: Victims identified
Twelve people were killed and at least four more were wounded in the shooting. Police identified those killed at a press conference Saturday morning:
Laquita C. Brown
Tara Welch Gallagher
Mary Louise Gayle
Alexander Mikhail Gusev
Katherine A. Nixon
Richard H. Nettleton
Christopher Kelly Rapp
Ryan Keith Cox
Joshua A. Hardy
Michelle “missy” Langer
Robert “Bobby” Williams
Herbert “Bert” Snelling
Five patients were being treated at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and a sixth was being transferred to the Trauma Center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Healthcare tweeted.
A Virginia Beach Police officer was among those injured in the incident. He was saved by his vest, authorities say.
The shooting occurred in Building 2 of the municipal center, which took place across multiple floors. Building 2 houses public works and planning offices, and is adjacent to the City Hall.
“I never thought this would happen in my building,” Arthur Felton, an 18-year employee fort the city’s planning department, told The Virginian-Pilot. “The people who were shot — I’m sure I know most of them.”
Virginia Beach shooter identified
Authorities confirmed that the shooter, who was a longtime public utilities worker with the city, was shot dead by officers.
Virginia Beach police chief Jim Cervera identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, 40, a public utilities engineer who had worked for 15 years in the department where the carnage played out.
CNN and The Wall Street Journal described Craddock as a”disgruntled employee” who had been recently terminated.
“They immediately engaged with the suspect, and I can tell you that it was a long gun battle between those four officers and that suspect,” Cervera said.
The shooting occurred just after 4 p.m. ET Friday afternoon, as many employees were leaving for the day.
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“I was scared to death,” City Councilwoman Barbara Henley, who pulled up to the building shortly after 4 p.m., told the Virginian-Pilot.
This is the most deadly shooting to occur in the U.S. since November 2018, when 12 people were killed at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California.
What Gov. Ralph Northam, others are saying about the shooting
Gov. Ralph Northam arrived in Virgnia Beach shortly after the shooting on Friday afternoon.
“This is just a horrific day,” Northam told reporters. “And a lot of people are on the scene here. Just our thoughts are for the victims and families. We’re working with our law enforcement, first responders, our folks at the hospital and just making sure we take care of everybody right now.”
The governor also shared his support via Twitter, calling the shooting a “tragic day.”
This is a tragic day for Virginia Beach and our entire Commonwealth. My heart breaks for the victims of this devastating shooting, their families, and all who loved them. I am on my way to Virginia Beach now and will be there within the hour.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) May 31, 2019
“My heart breaks for the victims of this devastating shooting, their families, and all who loved them. I am on my way to Virginia Beach now and will be there within the hour,” Gov. Northam added in his tweet.
Sen. Tim Kaine, who has represented Virginia since 2013, also tweeted a response to the shooting.
I’m devastated to learn of the tragic shooting tonight in Virginia Beach. My heart is with everyone who lost a loved one, and I’m praying for a swift recovery for all those who have been injured.
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) May 31, 2019
“This day will not define Virginia Beach, our response will define Virginia Beach,” Councilman Aaron Rouse said. “We will come together, we will show the strength of our city.”
Cervera, the police chief, praised responders for how they handled the situation, adding that citizens can “rest easy” now that the suspect has been apprehended.
“When this violent act occurred, police and fire-rescue responded and did the professional thing that they do, because that’s what they do,” Cervera said.
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