Twelve people have been killed and six others injured after a worker opened fire on colleagues at a local government building in Virginia Beach.
The incident began shortly after 4pm local time (9pm UK time) on Friday, with the suspect – named by various US media as 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock – opening fire in an “operations building” next door to City Hall.
Police Chief James Cervera said the gunman was a “disgruntled” longtime employee of the coastal resort city’s public works department and had shot “indiscriminately” at other workers during his attack, which he carried out using a handgun equipped with a “sound suppressor” and extended ammunition magazines.
He exchanged fire with officers upon their arrival at the scene and one of them was struck by a bullet, with the suspect shot dead after a “long-term gun battle”.
Most of the victims were found across three floors of the building, with one shot dead in a car outside. Another died in an ambulance on its way to a local hospital.
Five of those injured by the gunman – who has not been named – were taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and the other was taken to Sentara Princess Anne Hospital.
Megan Banton, a public utilities worker, told TV station WAVY-TV that she and colleagues barricaded themselves in their office to avoid being hurt.
“We just heard people yelling and screaming to get down,” she said.
“We put the desk up against the door because we didn’t know if they were coming in. We were just hoping that it would be over soon, and then we heard the cops yelling up the steps.”
Speaking at a news conference alongside Mr Cervera, mayor Bobby Dyer said it was “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach”, adding: “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbours, colleagues”.
Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, added that “the entire state is devastated by the tragic shooting”, which he decried as “unspeakable, senseless violence”.
The White House issued a statement saying President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting “and continues to monitor the situation”.
Virginia Beach, which sits on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, is the most populous city in Virginia, with roughly 450,000 residents.
Source: SKY NEWS