June 1 (UPI) — A gunman opened fire Friday through all three floors of Building 2 of the coastal city’s municipal center, killing 12 people and injuring another four, including a police officer wearing a bulletproof vest.
The community is mourning victims of the shooting, which has been the deadliest in the United States this year, adding the Virginia coastal city to the list of places affected by mass shooting.
Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen said in a news conference Saturday morning that the four people who were seriously injured are being treated at Virginia Beach and Norfolk hospitals.
Eleven victims were city employees in public works or utilities departments, and one was a contractor, Hansen said time on the job ranging from 11 months to 41 years.
The victims were identified as Lakita C. Brown, Tara Walsh Gallagher, Mary Louise Gale, Alexander Mikhail Gusev, Katherine A. Nixon, Richard H. Nettleton, Christopher Kelly Rapp, Ryan Cox, Joshua A. Hardy, Michelle “Missy” Langer, Robert “Bobby” Williams and Herbert “Bert” Snelling.
Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cevera identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, 40, an engineer who worked with public utilities for approximately 15 years. Cevera told reporters he would only mention the name once, and instead refer to him as “the suspect,” putting focus on victims.
The suspect was killed after firing at police officers in a gun fight. The gun fight was “long” Cevera added, meaning “multiple shots,” were fired at officers and others in the building.
Cevera also said that it was a “horrific crime scene” and police are investigating with the help from the FBI and state police. He said an investigative task force has 40 members and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted with recovering additional weapons at the scene. Among the weapons, a .45-caliber pistol, a suppressor and several empty, high-capacity magazines were found near the gunman.
A Virginia government source told CNN the shooter was a “disgruntled employee.”
Still, Cevera said that he could not comment on possible motive of the suspect at this particular time.
Hansen said that Craddock was still an employee at the time of the shooting and would not comment if there was any change in his work status prior to the shooting that may have set him off.
Hansen added that Building 2 of the campus of about 30 brick Colonial-style building in Princess Anne will be closed so the city will have to relocate some of the major services that utilities provided.
There has been an “outpouring of volunteers,” including people who have agreed “to serve as chaplains” and “to donate to families who are going to be in turmoil for quite sometime,” Hansen said.
“My main concern is our city workforce, our manager,” Cevera said, referring to the challenge of city services re-opening Monday. “Even though we will grieve as a city, we will continue to move forward.”