Officials confirmed 12 victims were dead and five were injured in a Virginia Beach shooting Friday afternoon at Building 2 of the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.
Watch the full press conference.
Initial reports said there were 11 victims killed. The 12th victim died on the way to the hospital, said Virginia Beach Police Chief James A. Cervera.
The shooter was named as DeWayne Craddock.
“We’re going to mention his name once and then he will be forever referred to as ‘the suspect,” Cervera said.
He did not identify the suspect during the press conference because they were unable to locate family to notify before the press briefing, he said.
“We’re going to show that Virginia Beach is a city of resolve and dedication,” said Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer.
Here’s what you need to know:
Officials Say the Shooter Fired ‘Indiscriminately’ at People in the Municipal Building
Two “seasoned detectives” and two K-9 officers responded immediately to the scene and followed the sound of gunfire to locate the suspect. He was armed with a .45-caliber handgun with extended magazines and a sound suppressor, Virginia Beach Police Chief James A. Cervera said.
The suspect shot one victim in a car outside and additional victims on all three floors of the building. His magazines were emptied at the end of a lengthy gun battle between the suspect and the four officers. One of the officers was shot. He is expected to make a full recovery. The officers returned fire and “stopped him from committing more carnage,” Cervera said.
“Even though he was involved in a long-term moving gun battle with these officers, when he went down they did what cops do and they rendered first aid to this individual,” he said.
Four of the injured victims are undergoing surgery, he said.
Because the suspect was an employee, he would not have been checked for weapons when he entered the building, he said. Investigators are working to determine if he had the gun legally.
Governor Pledged to Support Family of Victims
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam pledged Virginia’s long-term support to the families of the victims.
“This is a horrible day for the commonwealth of Virginia. Our hearts ache over the senseless violence that has been inflicted on the Virginia Beach community. Today, my deepest condolences and prayers go to the family of those who left home this morning and will not return tonight,” he said. “They were all someone’s child and many were someone’s parent. They were heading into the summer weekend. That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy. Their families are facing painful loss and grief. They each leave a hole in a family, in their neighborhood, in this community and in our commonwealth. We mourn with their loved ones, but sympathy doesn’t fill that hole. We must take care of these families. These horrible tragedies test our souls. Grief doesn’t pass quickly. It lasts far beyond the coming days, and these families will need support for the months and years to come.”
He said he is praying for the injured people to make a full recovery both from their physical injuries and from the painful loss of their friends and coworkers.
“I want to commend the local and state law enforcement officers, the first responders, the medical teams and all others who acted swiftly to respond to this situation. Their actions likely saved lives, and they have experienced scenes and injuries no one should ever have to face,” he said.
“My thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families,” he added. “To them and the city of Virginia Beach I offer the full support of the commonwealth. Tonight, we are all about Virginia Beach.”
Virginia Beach is in its ‘Darkest Hour,’ says Mayor
“Today is Virginia Beach’s darkest hour,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer. “A senseless crime happened and imposed tremendous grief upon the people of Virginia Beach, the commonwealth and this country.”
He said he expects the community of Virginia Beach and its neighboring communities to come together for the families of the victims.
“We are going to be there for all the families the friends and our community in a big way,” he said.
Up to 400 city workers could be in Building 2 at one time, Cervera said. As of the press conference, 90 people sought treatment at a family assistance center.
“We have numerous victims and we have numerous families. Let’s make sure that we keep their dignity and their respect as the number one piece of news,” he said.
Officials said a press conference will be held at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Officials struggled to maintain their composure at their first press conference Friday, about two hours after the mass shooting.