At least 12 people were killed in Virginia Beach, Virginia on Friday when a disgruntled city employee opened fire at a municipal building, sending employees scrambling for cover before police fatally shot and killed him, authorities said.
The identities of the victims were not immediately released nor was the motive of the attack. One of those injured was a police officer, who was saved by his bulletproof vest, said Police Chief James A. Cervera of the Virginia Police Department.
The police chief said the suspect, whom he declined to name, was armed with a .45 caliber handgun equipped with a “sound suppressor” device and was reloading his weapon with extended ammunition magazines as he moved through the building.
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Six people were being treated for injuries, including one at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, which is a Level I Trauma Center. The others have been taken to Virginia Beach General Hospital.
Bodies were found on all the three floors of the building. One of the deceased was discovered outside in a car.
Four officers entered the building and located the gunman inside and “immediately engaged” him, police chief said. The attacker was then shot dead.
The shooting began shortly after 4 p.m. when the gunman shot one person in a vehicle outside Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, which accommodates up to 400 workers in the utilities and public works departments, Cervera said. The suspect entered the building using access available as an employee, he added.
Mayor Bobby Dyer called the massacre ‘the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach. The people involved are our friends, coworkers, neighbors and colleagues. Today is Virginia Beach’s darkest hour.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said in a statement he was devastated by the “unspeakable, senseless violence,” and is offering the state’s full support to survivors and relatives of the victims. The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed and was monitoring the situation.