Virginia Beach shooting: 12 killed after city worker opens fire at colleagues

  • Published
Media caption,

Virginia Beach witness: 'We barricaded the door'

At least 12 people were killed and several injured on Friday in a mass shooting at a government building in the US state of Virginia.

The suspect, described by officials as a disgruntled city employee in Virginia Beach, fired indiscriminately in a municipal building.

The gunman, identified by police as DeWayne Craddock, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.

Officials said an officer was wounded when a bullet struck his vest.

How did the shooting unfold?

The attack began shortly after 16:00 (20:00 GMT), at Virginia Beach Municipal Center, in an area which is home to a number of city government buildings. The area was put into lockdown by police and employees were evacuated.

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The municipal complex was placed into lockdown and evacuated

"We just heard people yelling and screaming at people to get down," Megan Banton, an administrative assistant in the building, told local television news station WAVY.

One of the victims was shot outside in a car, and the rest were found over three floors of the government building.

Four officers entered the building and located the gunman inside and "immediately engaged" him, police chief James Cervera said. The attacker was then shot dead.

The police chief described the scene as a "war zone".

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
The shooting was at Building 2 in Virginia Beach Municipal Center

"I want you to know that during this gun battle, basically the officers stopped this individual from committing more carnage in that building," Mr Cervera said.

Police recovered a rifle and a handgun, thought to have been used by the suspect, at the scene.

Tragedy ahead of gun awareness day

Harry Low, BBC News, Virginia Beach

As police cars, blue lights flashing, line the perimeter of the Virginia Beach municipal offices, rain continues to fall.

At the end of a shortened working week following Monday's Memorial Day holiday, many families are facing a future without their loved ones.

Survivors speak of sleepless nights ahead. Virginia's largest city has now become the site for this country's largest mass shooting in 2019.

The latest tragedy has taken place ahead of the annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day on Sunday. This will provide little comfort to those who want to see an end to the easy access to guns which frequently bring schools and cities across America to prominence for all the wrong reasons.

What is known about the victims?

They have been identified as 11 municipal employees and one contractor.

At least four people are known to have been wounded, including the police officer, but the severity of their injuries remained unclear.

The injured officer's life was saved by his bulletproof vest.

A White House spokesman said President Trump had been briefed about the shooting.

The FBI was at the scene helping local authorities investigate the shooting, US media reported.

'The most devastating day'

Virginia Senator Tim Kaine said on Twitter he was "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," he said.

This Twitter post cannot be displayed in your browser. Please enable Javascript or try a different browser.View original content on Twitter
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Skip twitter post by Tim Kaine

Allow Twitter content?

This article contains content provided by Twitter. We ask for your permission before anything is loaded, as they may be using cookies and other technologies. You may want to read Twitter’s cookie policy, external and privacy policy, external before accepting. To view this content choose ‘accept and continue’.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
End of twitter post by Tim Kaine

Robert Dyer, the city's mayor, said: "This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach."

Virginia governor Ralph Northam described the incident as a "tragic day" for the city and the state.

"Our hearts ache over the senseless violence that has been inflicted upon the Virginia Beach community today," he told reporters.

According to US tracking website Gun Violence Archive, the incident is the 150th mass shooting in the US so far in 2019.

The site defines a mass shooting as a gun attack in which at least four people are either killed or wounded.