NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A security company says a bulletproof vest likely saved the life of a 52-year-old guard who was shot at a U.S. Social Security Administration building in Norfolk on Monday.
10 On Your Side has obtained a message sent by Paragon Protective Services on Tuesday, the day after police say 44-year-old Chesapeake resident William D. Rankin opened fire on the security guard at the front of the government building.
The message reveals new details in the shooting, which happened just before 4 p.m. Monday at 5850 Lake Herbert Drive.
Paragon Systems provides services at critical infrastructure sites, U.S. government buildings, federal agency and departmental headquarters, research facilities that store chemical and biological agents, harbors, government computer centers and military installations.
The company says it serves the Social Security Administration.
In the message Tuesday, the president of Paragon said an “armed assailant” attempted to gain entry into the Social Security building, but it was closed to the public.
When he was refused entry, he opened fire into the lobby.
The security guard was hit four times, but returned gunfire “until the threat was neutralized.”
After the shooting, the broken glass of the front doors could be seen from Chopper 10, which flew over the scene.
After he was shot, the security guard went to the second floor to alert the other officer he was working with. That officer was already responding to the sound of gunfire downstairs, and had secured the seven employees on the floor and called 911.
Despite being injured, the officer who was shot went back to the main floor and secured the scene until police arrived.
No one else was injured besides the guard and Rankin.
Rankin sustained life-threatening injuries and was hospitalized as of Tuesday, police said.
The Paragon president said in the message that the guard was set to have surgery Tuesday and was in stable condition.
“He is an important reminder of the critical importance of safety gear,” the message reads. “PSO [redacted]’s vest stopped two rounds to his center mass: there is no doubt that his vest saved his life.”
At least two dozen law enforcement vehicles responded to the scene on Monday. More investigation was underway Tuesday.
WAVY’s Chopper 10 observed numerous officers around the building Monday. Fire trucks and at least one ambulance were also at the scene. There were several officers armed with long guns and others in tactical gear seen leaving the building.
10 On Your Side also spoke with the 52-year-old security guard’s family Tuesday. They said he commuted to his job in Norfolk every day from North Carolina and is a retired New York City police officer.
The message from Paragon Protective Services Tuesday also says the security guard has been on contract with the company since 2009 and has an “exemplary service record.”
He received the Public Service Unsung Hero Award from the Norfolk Disability and Determination Services.