US & Canada

Virginia Beach killings: City names 12 victims of mass shooting

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Media captionThose killed leave a void, Virginia Beach manager Dave Hansen said

The 12 people killed when a gunman fired on his colleagues at a municipal building in the US city of Virginia Beach have been named.

City manager Dave Hansen said the victims - 11 local authority workers and one contractor - "leave a void we will never be able to fill".

The gunman shot indiscriminately before dying in a gun battle with police.

He has been identified as DeWayne Craddock and described by police as a disgruntled city employee.

Authorities said they would only refer to him by name once, in order to focus attention on the victims.

What is known about the victims?

The municipal workers killed were Laquita Brown; Tara Gallagher; Mary Louise Gayle; Alexander Gusev; Katherine Nixon; Richard Nettleton; Christopher Kelly Rapp; Ryan Keith Cox; Joshua Hardy; Michelle Langer and Robert Williams.

Robert Williams had worked for the authority for 41 years, the news conference was told, while Christopher Rapp had been there for only 11 months.

The contractor was identified as Herbert Snelling.

"Today we all grieve," Mr Hansen said.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Clockwise from top left: Richard Nettleton; Ryan Keith Cox; Christopher Kelly Rapp; Katherine Nixon; Tara Welch Gallagher; Laquita Brown; Mary Louise Gayle; Alexander Gusev; Herbert "Bert" Snelling; Joshua Hardy; Michelle "Missy" Langer and Robert "Bobby" Williams

At least three people are known to have been wounded, including a police officer whose life was saved by his bulletproof vest.

Martin O'Grady, director of trauma at Virginia Beach General Hospital, told reporters all three are in a stable condition and still receiving treatment, he added.

What about the gunman?

Police said Craddock, 40, had been employed as an engineer with the city's public utilities department for 15 years.

According to AP news agency he had served in the military and was described by neighbours as quiet and "rarely smiling".

Some US media had reported that the gunman had recently been fired, or was about to be fired. But Mr Hansen said he was an employee at the time and had a security pass to enter the building.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Many residents of Virginia Beach took part in a vigil for the victims on Saturday

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera declined to comment on a motive for the shooting.

Police previously said the gunman had used a .45-calibre semi-automatic pistol equipped with a sound suppressor and high-capacity magazines. Mr Cervera said other weapons were recovered at the scene and at the gunman's home, but did not give details.

Law enforcement officials quoted by AP said the gunman had recently bought several firearms, all legally.

At the scene

Harry Low, BBC News, Virginia Beach

In the pouring Saturday morning rain, witnesses and well-wishers came together for what has become a customary vigil to remember those killed.

Jayme Rivera, who works in the same complex and had gone home for the day, said her heart sank when she heard news of the shooting. "It doesn't even seem real," she said. "It's a tragedy, a senseless act of evil."

What is striking is the reluctance among those here to talk about tighter gun controls, an issue which will continue to divide this country even after 2019's largest mass shooting has been forgotten.

"We too often look to our leaders for answers on this and the answers are what you see here," says Eric whose friend saw his co-workers killed. "It's got to be community."

How did the shooting unfold?

The attack began shortly after 16:00 (20:00 GMT), at Virginia Beach Municipal Center. The area was put into lockdown by police and employees were evacuated.

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Media captionVirginia Beach witness: 'We barricaded the door'

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, located the gunman and engaged him, police said. The attacker was then shot dead.

Mr Cervera said it had been a "a long-term, large gunfight".

"Once they identified him... he immediately opened fire. We immediately returned the fire and again I want everyone to know that this was a long-term, running gun battle with this individual," he said.

Mr Hansen said the building would be closed for some time and some city services would be temporarily relocated.

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

On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted his condolences.

He later ordered flags across the US to be flown at half-mast on all public buildings until 4 June.

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

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

It is the worst such shooting in the US since November 2018, when 12 people were killed at a bar and grill near Los Angeles, California.

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