- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2019

Twelve people were killed and four others were injured when a gunman opened fire at the Virginia Beach, Virginia, municipal center on Friday afternoon, officials said.

Responding officers shot and killed the gunman, said Virginia Beach Police Chief James A. Cervera. One officer was injured and was expected to recover.

“He was saved by his vest,” the chief told reporters.

Chief Cervera described the suspect as a “longtime” and current employee of the city. He said the shooting was indiscriminate.

The shooter’s identity was not immediately released, the police chief said.

The Wall Street Journal and CNN reported Friday night that officials identified the suspect as DeWayne Craddock, a public utilities employee.

The police chief said the gunman used a .45-caliber handgun with a suppressor and extended magazines.

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

The victims of the shooting at the Virginia Beach municipal center were found on three floors and one victim was shot in a car outside the building, Chief Cervera said at a later press conference.

One victim died on the way to the hospital and four other victims were undergoing surgery Friday evening, Chief Cervera said.

The gunfire broke out around 4 p.m. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted, “My administration stands ready to assist law enforcement and first responders in any way.

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley confirmed Friday evening that President Trump had been brief on the shooting and “and continues to monitor the situation.”

Sen. Mark R. Warner, Virginia Democrat, also issued a statement Friday evening: “I am horrified by what has happened today in Virginia Beach. I am thankful to law enforcement for their swift and courageous response. My heart goes out to all the victims of today’s senseless violence, their families, and the entire community that has been affected by these awful events. I will be praying for the swift recovery of those injured.”

A police spokesman told The Virginian-Pilot that the shooter opened fire in Building 2 of the municipal center, which is adjacent to City Hall. The building houses the city’s public works, public utilities and planning departments, according to City Councilwoman Barbara Henley, who arrived at City Hall building about 4 p.m. when she saw a crowd of people standing outside.

“Somebody told me there had been a shooting, and they were told to leave. Afterward, I heard a loud male voice say, ‘Get down!’ so I did,” Ms. Henley told The Associated Press.

“When the person said to get down, then everybody dispersed pretty quickly,” she said.

“I’m just sick,” she said. “All these people that I work with all the time. They are such really fine people, and I just hope they’re all safe.”

Megan Banton, an administrative assistant who works in the building where the shooting happened, said she heard gunshots, called 911 and barricaded a door.

“We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe,” she said. “We were all just terrified. It felt like it wasn’t real, like we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you can hear is the gunshots.”

She said she texted her mom, telling her that there was an active shooter in the building and she and others were waiting for police. Banton works in an office of about 20 people that is part of the public works department.

“Thank God my baby is OK,” said Banton’s mother, Dana Showers.

Paul Swain, 50, was among those who arrived at the Princess Anne Middle School to reunite with loved ones who were in the building during the shooting.

He said he saw his fiancee from across the parking lot, clearly in an agitated state.

“I think she knew some of the people,” he said.

This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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