‘The most devastating day’: 12 killed, several injured in Virginia Beach shooting

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WRIC/WAVY/AP) — Virginia Beach Police said a longtime city worker killed a dozen people and injured several others on Friday when he opened fire and shot “indiscriminately” at his co-workers inside the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. 

Police identified DeWayne Craddock, 40, as the suspect in the shooting.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said in a press conference that four people, including a police officer, were hurt in the shooting. Cervera, with Gov. Ralph Northam at his side, told reporters on Friday night that the victims are in surgery. 

Earlier in the evening police said there were 11 “deceased victims” but Cervera later confirmed another person had died on the way to the hospital. 

Police have identified the victims as Laquita Brown, Tara Gallagher, Mary Gayle, Alexander Gusev, Katherine Nixon, Richard Nettleton, Christopher Rapp, Ryan Cox, Joshua Hardy, Michelle Langer, Robert Williams and Herbert Snelling.

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The shooter opened fire in Building 2 of the municipal center, which is adjacent to City Hall.

The Municipal Center is a sprawling complex in the southern portion of Virginia’s largest city, and houses everything from courthouses to the city’s sheriff’s office and police department.

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. Friday just after the shooting.

The shooting sent shock waves through Virginia Beach, the state’s largest city and a popular vacation spot in southeastern Virginia. The building where the attack took place is in a suburban complex miles away from the high-rise hotels along the beach and the downtown business area.

“That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy,” the governor said during the news conference on Friday night. Gov. Northam released a full statement after making the trip to Virginia Beach: 

This is a horrific day for the Commonwealth of Virginia. We are devastated by the tragic shooting in Virginia Beach. I am in Virginia Beach with law enforcement authorities and Mayor Dyer, where I am monitoring the situation and offer the state’s full support.

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.

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. My thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families.”  

                                                                              -Gov. Ralph Northam

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,” Banton’s mother, Dana Showers, 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.

Virginia Beach native Pharrell 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.”

Timeline of events after the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center

10:38 p.m. — DeWayne Craddock, 40, has been identified as the suspect in the Municipal Center. Police Chief Jim Cervera says Craddock was a longtime employee with the city.

10:08 p.m. — Sentara officials say four injured victims from today’s shooting are still in the hospital. Three patients are at Sentara Virginia Beach General, with two in critical condition and one in fair condition. Another victim who was taken to Norfolk General is still in critical condition. They say another patient checked themselves into Sentara Princess Anne, but was released from the emergency department Friday night.

9:50 p.m. — Police Chief Jim Cervera says another victim has been pronounced dead. 12 people, as well as the gunman, have been confirmed deceased in total following today’s mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. Multiple people are still injured and at local hospitals.

The suspect, who was a Virginia Beach city employee with access to the building, was reloading his weapon, a .45 caliber handgun with a suppressor and an extended magazine when he shot following a gun battle with police. Cervera said authorities are in the process of identifying victims, so they can make notifications to their families. He said police received the initial call for the shooting shortly after 4 p.m.

Cervera says city emergency officials had trained extensively and are “highly qualified” in the event of an active shooter.

9:20 p.m. The mayors of fellow Hampton Roads cities are sending their condolences to their neighbors in Virginia Beach. Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander and Chesapeake Mayor Rick West both released statements after the shooting.

8:46 p.m. — Congresswoman Elaine Luria, who represents Virginia Beach, was being briefed on the shooting before a 9:30 p.m. press conference and released a statement:

This is a day that will change Virginia Beach forever. I grieve for those who lost their lives, their families, and everyone who loved them. I wish a speedy recovery to all who are injured, and I thank the first responders, medical personnel, and law enforcement for their invaluable bravery and service. Now is the time for healing, coming together, and determining ways to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.”

8:40 p.m. First responders are using Princess Anne Middle School as a way to reunite survivors with their families and loved ones following Friday’s shooting.

8:33 p.m. — The Municipal Center shooting happened just about a month after the Pharrell Williams-led Something in the Water festival, which was seen as a major success for the region, bringing people from all backgrounds together for a weekend of music and culture at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.

6:46 p.m. 11 people have been pronounced dead, and another six are injured following Friday’s shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera confirmed in a press conference. Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said this goes down as the saddest day in the city’s history.

6:34 p.m. — WAVY’s Andy Fox reports that multiple city sources say the suspect, who is now deceased, is a disgruntled former city employee who was fired on Thursday, and as many as 12 people are feared to be dead following the shooting. The latest died at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The official number of causalities has not been confirmed at this time, and the situation remains active.

6:29 p.m. Six shooting victims have been taken to area hospitals after an active shooting incident at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, including one to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. One suspect was taken into custody, and city sources tell WAVY’s Jason Marks the suspect was pronounced dead.

A press conference on the situation was set for 6:15 p.m. but has been delayed.

6:13 p.m. — A Nightingale helicopter arrived at Norfolk General Hospital, a Level 1 trauma center, with a patient from the shooting.

6:06 p.m. — The shooting suspect is dead, a Virginia Beach police source tells WAVY’s Jason Marks. Multiple victims are also feared dead after the shooting. Police are set to hold a press conference at 6:15 p.m. to provide updates.

5:56 p.m. — Sentara has updated the number of patients in connection to the shooting to six. Five are at Sentara Virginia Beach and one patient at Sentara Princess Anne is being picked up by Nightingale for transfer to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

5:49 p.m. — WAVY’s Andy Fox reports several people are feared dead, according to a City Hall source. There’s been no official word on fatalities from police at this time.

5:46 p.m. — Virginia Beach sources tell WAVY’s Jason Marks that a police officer was shot, but is expected to be OK. The public works building (building 2) has been cleared, authorities say.

5:14 p.m.  Sentara officials confirm one patient is at Sentara Princess Anne and another was taken to Virginia Beach General. Nightingale air ambulance is also at the scene. The FBI has joined Virginia Beach authorities to secure the scene.

4:51 p.m. Virginia Beach police say they believe there’s only one shooter, and that person has been taken into custody. They say multiple people have been injured. There’s no word on the extent of the victims’ injuries at this time, but WAVY’s Tamara Scott says crews were treating at least four victims. A Nightingale helicopter was landing at the scene at 5:05 p.m.

Nearby Sentara Princess Anne Hospital has been placed on lockdown in the meantime. Police are asking the public to avoid the area.

4:42 P.M. — Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen confirmed there is an active shooter situation at the Municipal Center. He says the suspect hasn’t been apprehended, and he’s seen people coming out of the city’s public utilities department in need of medical treatment.

At this time, he doesn’t know how many people have been injured.

An injured person was being carried in the back of a car surrounded by police, heading toward an ambulance. Moments later, two other victims were being carried in the back of a pickup truck.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Stay with 8News for updates to this breaking news story. 

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