AFRICANGLOBE – The suspected gunman who allegedly murdered 12 people and wounded several others in a mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building was identified as DeWayne A. Craddock.
Armed with a .45-caliber handgun, several extended magazines and a noise suppressor for the gun, 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock a longtime city employee, entered the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday, and immediately opened fire.
Craddock, gave no warning to his intended victims, he simply walked into the building that typically holds about 400 people, and began indiscriminately firing his weapon, killing at least 12 people before he was shot dead by police.
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dwyer told reporters after the massacre:
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,”
“The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors and colleagues.”
Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera said at a news conference, the victims were found on the first, second and third floors, in addition to one found outside, in a car.
Four officers who were working in the nearby police headquarters heard the gunfire, and rushed to the scene.
The four police officers took down the shooter after a long gun battle inside the building, during which the suspect emptied his gun and reloaded with another extended magazine.
One of the four officers was shot during the exchange of gunfire, but is expected to recover because his bullet-proof vest stopped the slug.
According to reports, Craddock had made a number of legal firearm purchases in recent weeks, and the gun he used was legally purchased.
The FBI, state police and local authorities are working jointly on the investigation, Cervera said.
Workers who were in the building described barricading themselves in their offices. Some hid under their desks.
Zand Bakhtiari, who was on the first floor when the shooting began, told reporters that he heard numerous shots in quick succession.
“It was repeated, rapid gunfire,” he said.
City employee Megan Blanton told a local newspaper that her supervisor pushed her and fellow workers into an office and propped a desk against a door.
“It felt like forever,” Blanton told the newspaper.
The names of the deceased victims were not released pending family notification.
According to records DeWayne Craddock holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Old Dominion University and previously worked for the Army Training and Support Center and a local manufacturing company.
He joined the Army National Guard after graduating from Denbigh High School in Newport News, Va., according to the Daily Press newspaper.