Twelve people were killed at a government building in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday when a man opened fire inside the building. Four others were wounded, including a police officer whose life was saved by his bulletproof vest.
The shooting began shortly after 4 p.m., when the man “immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all of the victims,” said Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera. The shooter attached a sound suppressor and extended magazines to the handgun, according to the Washington Post. The shooting spanned three floors of the building. After what was described as a “long gun battle” by authorities, the shooter was killed by police gunfire. All but one of the victims were city employees.
Authorities read out the names of the victims on Saturday morning. They were listed as Laquita C. Brown, Tara Welch Gallagher, Mary Louise Gayle, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Katherine A. Nixon, Richard H. Nettleton, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Ryan Keith Cox, Joshua A. Hardy, Michelle “Missy” Langer, Robert “Bobby” Williams, and Herbert “Bert” Snelling.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam made a statement at a news conference late Friday night. “That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy,” he said, adding that he was devastated by the “unspeakable and senseless violence.” Northam offered the state’s full support to survivors and the families of those who were killed.
“Today is Virginia Beach’s darkest hour,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer, before adding that a “senseless crime happened and imposed tremendous grief upon the people of Virginia Beach, the Commonwealth, and this country.”
The shooter was later identified as DeWayne Craddock, a 15-year city employee at the Department of Public Works. He reportedly used a city-issued badge to gain entry into the building.