A long-time public employee shot dead 12 people at the building complex where he worked before being killed by police fire on Friday in Virginia Beach, authorities said, CNN reports.
The shooter killed one person outside a municipal building complex in the afternoon and then entered the structure and “immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all the victims,” Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera told journalists.
He was armed with a .45 caliber handgun, equipped with a sound suppressor and multiple extended bullet magazines, Cervera said. After he started shooting four police officers entered the building and engaged in a “long-term gun battle” with the man.
“It was numerous shots fired by the individual, shots were fired from various places down the hallway at the officers,” Cervera said, adding that the attacker was given first aid but died of his injuries.
One person died during travel to the hospital. Another four people were hospitalized, according to the latest police figures which may increase, the police chief said.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” said Mayor Bobby Dwyer. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers neighbors colleagues.”
The suspect was employed by the city’s public works department, which manages public infrastructure in the coastal city. His identity is known to authorities but will not be released until all the victims are identified and their families notified, authorities said.
“We must take care of these families. These horrific tragedies test our souls,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam told reporters.
“My deepest condolences and prayers go to the families of those who left home this morning and will not return home tonight,” Northam added. “They were all someone’s child and many were someone’s parent.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive, a tracking website, this is the 150th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2019. Following the shooting Democratic lawmakers reiterated calls for increased regulations and restrictions on accessing guns.
“As we mourn this tragedy in our Commonwealth, I want Virginians to know that I will keep pushing for Congress to take action to prevent the daily scourge of gun violence in America,” Virginia Senator Tim Kaine said in a tweet.
“Yet another horrific tragedy that reminds us how much work needs to be done to address violence in America,” tweetedChuck Schumer, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.