A dozen people – eleven city employees and a contractor trying to get a permit for a project – were killed in Virginia Beach on Friday afternoon in America’s deadliest mass shooting in six months.
At least four others were wounded during the shooting, which began around 4:00 p.m. EDT outside a three-story municipal building which houses the city’s planning, public utilities and public works departments.
The city employees killed in the shooting were identified as: Laquita Brown, Tara 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 and Robert “Bobby” Williams.
The contractor shot and killed was identified asHerbert “Bert” Snelling.
The alleged perpetrator, 40-year-old DeWayne Antonio Craddock, was shot and killed during an ensuing firefight with responding police officers. One officer was shot during this lengthy gun battle but the bullet hit him where he was protected by a bullet-proof vest.
Craddock had been employed for the past fifteen years as an engineer with the city’s public utilities department. At the time of the shooting, he was still employed by the city and was in possession of a security pass allowing him access to the building.
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In identifying Craddock as the shooter, Virginia Beach police chief James Cervera told reporters that would be “the only time we will announce his name.”
According to Cervera, Craddock fired at least two weapons – including a .45-caliber handgun equipped with a sound suppressor and an extended magazine. He is said to have killed his first victim outside of the building – one of many brick, colonial-style structures on a sprawling campus adjacent to Virginia Beach’s city hall. The other eleven victims were shot and killed inside the building.
Witnesses described hearing “repeated, rapid gunfire,” according to a report in The Virginian-Pilot.
No word yet on the motive of the alleged gunman, although according to a report by The New York Times he was recently involved in several “scuffles” with co-workers – including a “violent altercation” within the last week that Craddock “was told would lead to discipline.”
Local police disputed early reports alleging Craddock had been fired from his position.
Virginia governor Ralph Northam indicated he would pursue additional gun restrictions in the aftermath of the shooting, although he declined to specify what those proposals might entail.
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