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12 killed in Virginia Beach shooting; suspect, city engineer DeWayne Craddock, is dead

Dennis Romero
Key Points
  • The suspect, who had worked for the city for about 15 years as an engineer recently purchased multiple firearms legally, a federal official told NBC News. 
  • All of those killed were city employees except for one person, a contractor, who was at the municipal center to get a permit.
FBI agents work on June 1, 2019, at the scene of the mass shooting in the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in Virginia, Beach, Virginia.
ERIC BARADAT | Getty

Twelve people were killed and five injured Friday afternoon after a shooter opened fire at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in Virginia, officials said.

Responding officers shot the suspect, a longtime city engineer named DeWayne Craddock, who also later died, Virginia Beach police Chief James A. Cervera said. The suspect entered the building Friday afternoon with his security pass, like any other employee.

All of those killed were city employees except for one person, a contractor, who was at the municipal center to get a permit, Cervara said.

The victims were found on three different office floors, the chief said. "It's a horrific crime scene," he said Saturday morning at a press conference.

Among the injured was an officer who was shot by the man and was expected to recover, authorities said.

"He was saved by his vest," the police chief said, later adding: "He was attended to at the scene" before being transported to a hospital.

Four of those injured remained hospitalized in serious condition on Saturday morning, Cervera said.

The suspect, who had worked for the city for about 15 years as an engineer recently purchased multiple firearms legally, a federal official told NBC News. Cervera said the shooter used a semiautomatic handgun and had multiple extended magazines. He also had a suppressor that muffles the sound of gunfire.

Investigators recovered additional weapons at the scene and at the suspect's home, Cervera said.

The chief at a press conference Saturday morning declined to discuss a possible motive yet.

Mayor Bobby Dyer said, "This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach."

Officials initially said 11 victims were killed by the shooter but a 12th victim died later either en route or at a hospital, Cervera said.

He said four officers initially responded, and "I can tell you it was a long gun battle between those four officers and that suspect."

Authorities identified the deceased victims Saturday as City of Virginia Beach employees: Katherine A. Nixon, Richard H. Nettleton, Laquita C. Brown, Tara Welch Gallagher, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Ryan Keith Cox, Joshua A. Hardy, Michelle "Missy" Langer and Robert "Bobby" Williams.

Herbert "Bert" Snelling, a contractor, was also killed in the shooting, authorities said.

Meghan Banton, a city utility worker, told NBC News affiliate WAVY, "We just heard people yelling and screaming to get down. I was on the phone with 911."

The shooting occurred in a building that houses public works, public utilities, communications and other departments.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam told reporters early Friday evening, "Our thoughts are for these victims and their families. And we're one with our law enforcement, our first responders, the hospital, and making sure that we're taking care of everybody right now."

Cervera said forensic investigators from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Virginia State Police were being sent to the scene to help local police investigate the attack.

Native sonPharrell Williams tweeted, "We are praying for our city, the lives that were lost, their families and everyone affected. We are resilient.We will not only get through this but we'll come out of this stronger than before we always do."

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