Virginia Beach shooting: Disgruntled city employee opens fire at municipal building leaving 12 people dead
A man opened fire indiscriminately in a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday, killing 12 people on three floors and sending terrified co-workers scrambling for cover. The shooter — a disgruntled public utility worker — was shot and killed by the police following a long gun-battle.
Authorities did not officially release the suspect's name. However, law enforcement officers and government sources identified the shooter as DeWayne Craddock, 40, who worked as a certified professional engineer for the Public Utilities Department. Craddock reportedly opened fire on all three floors of Building 2 in the city's municipal center, which houses multiple departments of the operations building.
Police entered the building and got out as many employees as they could, then exchanged fire with the suspect, Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said. "I can tell you that it was a long gunbattle between those four officers and that suspect."
Over the last several years, Craddock had been listed as the point of contact for information on local road projects for the department. A .45 caliber pistol, a suppressor, and several empty, higher-capacity magazines were found near him. Investigators believe the pistol was used in the shooting, which happened shortly after 4 p.m. Craddock is believed to have purchased the firearms legally.
Megan Banton, an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened, said she heard gunshots, called 911 and barricaded herself and about 20 colleagues inside an office, pushing a desk against a door.
"We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe," she said. "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."
She texted her mom, telling her that there was an active shooter in the building and she and others were waiting for police. "Thank God my baby is OK," Banton's mother, Dana Showers, said.
Another man, Edward Weeden, who also works in the building, said people first heard someone falling in a stairwell. Upon investigation they found a woman, fallen on the floor, with a bloodied face. They quickly returned and asked Weeden to 'get out of building... the guy's got a gun."
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.
"That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy," the governor said during the news conference.
The shooting sent shock waves through Virginia Beach, the state's largest city and a popular vacation spot in southeastern Virginia. The building where the attack took place is in a suburban complex miles away from the high-rise hotels along the beach and the downtown business area.