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Gunman kills 12 in Virginia Beach; suspect shot dead

Key Points
  • Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said a mass shooting in the coastal resort city began as a gunman entered the public works and utilities building at the city municipal center and "immediately and indiscriminately fired upon all the victims."
  • Authorities said the gunman ultimately was shot by police and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
A view of Virginia Beach Hospital after a shooter opened fire at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, in Virginia, United States on May 31, 2019.
Crystal Huffman | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A man opened fire on co-workers at city offices in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday afternoon, killing 12 people and wounding others before he was fatally shot by police, authorities said.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said the mass shooting in the coastal resort city began as a public utility employee entered the public works and utilities building at the city municipal center and "immediately and indiscriminately fired upon all the victims."

The chief later said that the suspect engaged in a "long-term gun battle" with law enforcement officers as police confronted him inside the building. One police officer was wounded in the shootout, but his bullet-proof vest saved his life, Cervera said.

The police chief said the suspect 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.

Authorities said the gunman ultimately was shot by police and was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Cervera said the suspect was a longtime public utilities employee, and described him as "disgruntled," but declined to say more about what may have precipitated the attack.

'Darkest hour'

Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said the event marked the city's "darkest hour." Governor Ralph Northam called the shooting "a horrific day for the Commonwealth of Virginia."

"My deepest condolences and prayers go to the families of those who left home this morning, and will not return tonight, as well as those who have been injured in this tragedy," Northam said in a statement.

"This is unspeakable, senseless violence. I commend local and state law enforcement, first responders, medical teams, and all others who acted swiftly to respond to this situation," the governor said. "My thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families."

The shooting was believed to be the deadliest act of workplace gun violence in the United States since February, when a factory worker shot five colleagues to death in Aurora, Illinois, just after he was let go from his job.

—CNBC contributed to this report.

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