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31 May, 2019 20:52

12 killed by ‘disgruntled employee’ in mass shooting at Virginia Beach municipal building

Twelve people have been killed and several more injured, including a police officer, when a disgruntled city employee opened fire in a municipal building in Virginia Beach. The suspect was killed in a shootout with police.

Police Chief Jim Cervera identified the suspect as a “long-time employee of public utilities.” Armed with a .45-caliber handgun equipped with a sound suppressor and extended magazines, the suspect shot one victim in a car outside and entered the municipal building shortly after 4 pm local time. Once inside, he began to “indiscriminately fire,” hitting victims on all three floors of the building.

When two “seasoned detectives” and two K-9 officers arrived on the scene, following the sound of gunfire to locate the suspect, he shot at the officers, injuring one. The gunman was killed when police returned fire and “stopped him from committing more carnage,” Cervera said.

This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer told reporters.

Sentara Healthcare confirmed a total of five patients were admitted to its Virginia Beach General Hospital, with another one airlifted to Norfolk General, presumably with more serious injuries. The injured police officer is expected to make a full recovery.

Police conducted a floor-to-floor search of the building to check for victims and to ensure there were no additional suspects. Footage from local media outlets showed traumatized employees and members of the public evacuating the building. The FBI provided assistance to local authorities.

Virginia Beach is a city on the Atlantic Ocean, at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, with a population of about 450,000. The shooting took place inside the municipal building that houses the departments of Public Works, Public Utilities, and Planning, adjacent to the courthouse. Because the suspect was an employee, he would not have been checked for weapons at the door; investigators are trying to determine if he legally owned the gun.

On Saturday, the Virginia Beach Chief of Police James Cervera confirmed that the shooter indeed was a disgruntled city employee. The suspect, identified as DeWayne Craddock, had been working as an engineer for the city for the past 15 years and was still employed at the time of the incident. The police recovered “additional weapons” at the scene as well as at Craddock’s home, Cervera revealed.

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