VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Twelve people were killed and multiple others were injured after a disgruntled employee opened fire at a Virginia Beach Municipal Center building Friday afternoon.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer in the aftermath.
The gunshots started around 4 p.m. outside of building 2, which houses several city departments, including public works.
The suspect was able to shoot more than a dozen people outside and inside of the building before he was killed following a extended shootout with officers. Police say he was using a .45 caliber handgun with a suppressor and multiple extended magazines. He was later identified as 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock, a longtime employee in the public utilities department.
Virginia Beach Police Chief James A. Cervera said among the injured was an police officer shot by the suspect. He’s expected to recover.
“He was saved by his vest,” the chief said, later adding: “He was attended to at the scene” before being taken to the hospital.
The other injured were also rushed to local hospitals, with several in critical condition. Sentara health officials said two of those who initially were brought to the hospital later died.
Victims were found on three office floors, as well as in a vehicle outside, the chief said. A motive has not been determined.
“We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe,” said Megan Banton, an administrative assistant who works in the building. “We were all just terrified. It felt like it wasn’t real, like we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you can hear is the gunshots.”
The Municipal Center is a sprawling complex in the southern portion of Virginia’s largest city, and houses everything from courthouses to the city’s sheriff’s office and police department.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told reporters early Friday evening, “Our thoughts are for these victims and their families. And we’re one with our law enforcement, our first responders, the hospital, and making sure that we’re taking care of everybody right now.”
Cervera said forensic investigators from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Virginia State Police were being sent to the scene to help local police investigate the attack.
In a press conference at 3 p.m. on Saturday, an agent with ATF says they recovered two .45 caliber handguns from the scene of the shooting and two additional guns from the suspect’s home. All were legally purchased.
Virginia Beach native Pharrell Williams tweeted, “We are praying for our city, the lives that were lost, their families and everyone affected. We are resilient.We will not only get through this but we’ll come out of this stronger than before we always do.”