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A slide of the victims in the May 31, 2019 mass shooting at a Virginia, Beach, Virginia, municipal building is shown during a press conference. Image Credit: AFP

A disgruntled employee went on a shooting rampage in a municipal centre building in the US state of Virginia, killing 12 people and injuring several others before dying in a gunbattle with the police. Follow the updates:

Washington: Update (in UAE time)

5pm

Police recover additional weapons

Police say they have recovered "additional weapons" that were in the possession of the suspect believed to have shot and killed 12 people during a rampage at a municipal building in Virginia.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said at a news conference Saturday that the weapons were recovered at the scene as well as at the home of the suspect, identified as Dewayne Craddock.

Earlier, Cervera had said that the suspect used a .45-caliber handgun with a suppressor in the killings. Unlike some states, silencers are legal in Virginia, though it is illegal to have one in Virginia Beach per local ordinance.

Authorities say Craddock stormed the building and opened fire Friday afternoon at the city building before he was killed in a gun battle with police.

12.05pm

Officials identify the gunman

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Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen speaks to the press on June 1, 2019, in Virginia, Beach, Virginia. Hansen spoke about the May 31 mass shooting. Image Credit: AFP

Officials have identified the gunman who killed 12 people and then was shot by officers at a Virginia Beach municipal building as Dewayne Craddock.

Authorities used a Saturday morning news conference to focus on the victims. They projected photos on a screen and gave each victim's name along with biographical details.

City manager Dave Hansen says 11 of the 12 victims were employees of the city. He says families of the victims have been notified. He says he'd worked with most of them for many years, and they "leave a void that we will never be able to fill."

Officials identified Craddock for the first time after talking about the victims. They say they will name Craddock only once, then will not refer to him again.

8.04am

Saved by the uniform

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Police enter a building in this still image taken from video following a shooting incident at the municipal center in Virginia Beach, Virginia, US. Image Credit: Reuters

Police Chief James Cervera said an officer was among the wounded but was saved by his protective vest. He said the gunman "fired indiscriminately" with a .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun on several floors of the building, one of many in the complex.

The chief said people were found wounded on all three floors and one was shot in a vehicle outside. He said four victims were in surgery Friday night but there might be others who sought treatment on their own.

Speaking at a late night news conference, Cervera, along with the mayor and Virginia's governor, spoke in impassioned tones about the horror of what unfolded in a building used by as many as 400 workers as well as residents trying to obtain building permits, pay water bills or work through zoning issues.

The chief said police were working to notify family members of the slain victims, who were not identified Friday night. He said they have identified the shooter but would not make the name public until they could reach certain relatives.

Cervera said the shooter was armed with a gun with an attached sound suppressor and extended magazines, enabling him to fire many rounds and engage four police officers in what the chief described as a "longterm gunbattle" down building hallways.

"The officers stopped the suspect from doing more carnage in the building," Cervera said.

The chief said authorities will name the shooter, who according to a city spokesman worked in the public utilities department, only once. Thereafter, "he will be forever referred to as the suspect. Our focus is on the dignity to the victims in this case and their families."

Police had no immediate information as to a possible motive.

Gov. Ralph Northam said the victims, shot near the end of the last day of the week, "were heading into the summer weekend. That they should be taken in this matter is the worst kind of tragedy."

He added that the shooting, "tests our souls."

Edward Weeden, an office assistant in Building 2, said he was at the first-floor reception desk when he heard a sound coming from the direction of a staircase. He and another employee went toward it and found a woman lying at the bottom of the steps, he said.

The woman was not responsive and was bloodied, Weeden said. One of his co-workers ran upstairs to check on what happened and fled back down, announcing that there was a shooter.

Weeden ran out of the building as law enforcement began to swarm. "I thank God for getting me out of that building," he said.

Megan Banton, who works in the building where the shooting occurred, said she was on the second floor when her supervisor heard a loud noise and told people to go into her office.

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An ambulance turns on Nimmo Parkway following a shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday, May 31, 2019, in Virginia Beach Image Credit: AP

The sound of gunshots continued as about 20 people huddled on the floor after they barricaded the door with a desk. "We kept hearing gunfire," Banton said. "We were trying to keep as quiet as possible."

She said some people in the office were crying, while others appeared nervous and some remained silent.

Conditions of the surviving victims were not immediately available, and a precise count was not provided. Though police said four were in surgery, officials said there might be others. Hospital at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital reported two people in critical condition and two in fair condition. One patient at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in critical condition.

Banton, the employee who was on the second floor of the public works building, said she has an 11-month-old baby boy and sheltered in the office wondering if she would ever see him again.

"You never think this is going to happen to you. When it happens to you, it's totally different," Banton said.

Sheila Cook, who was in the courthouse in the complex, told a local television news station she heard muffled gunshots but knew it wasn't in her building. She said police acted quickly to alert people that they were safe after the shooter had been apprehended.

"That was enough to make me feel safe enough to come outside, and that God was with us," she said. She added, "I'm feeling shaken and relieved at the same time."

Harold Gaskill, a supervisor in the permits and inspections office, was at home on his last day of a week-long vacation when news of the shooting broke. He said he spent the next two hours calling his workers and other colleagues to make sure they were okay. Everyone he knew made it through unharmed, he said.

Gaskill, 63, has worked for the city for 29 years. He said he works on the first floor of Building frequented by the public. He said he was told by co-workers that the shootings occurred on the second and third floors, where offices for public works and utilities are located.

"As far as I know, everyone in my office is okay," Gaskill said. He added that he has not learned names of the dead or injured, or that of the shooter. "It's just hard to believe right now," he said. "I don't understand it."

"There is no way to describe an incident such as this," Cervera said. "The suspect was immediately confronted . . . our citizens can rest easy tonight. We do not have someone out in the community to do more harm."

6.45am

Suspect identified

Virginia Beach police say they have identified the suspect in a shooting that left 12 dead but have not released his name because they haven't been able to notify family members.

Police Chief James Cervera said when he does release the name, it will be only once. He said after that, "he will be forever referred to as the suspect because our focus now is the dignity and respect to the victims in this case and to their families".

Cervera said the suspect was a longtime employee of the Public Utilities Department.

6am

Four victims in surgery

Police say the victims of a shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal center were found on three floors and one victim was shot in car outside the building.

Police Chief James Cervera gave the details in a Friday night news conference, hours after the shooting, which killed 12 people.

He also says four shooting victims are undergoing surgery.

He says a long gun battle erupted between the shooter and four police officers. Police aren't naming the suspect, who was killed as authorities returned fire.

5.55am

Death toll rises to 12

The death toll from a shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal center has increased to 12.

Police Chief James Cervera says the 12th victim in the Friday shooting died on the way to the hospital. He gave the latest details on the incident in a news conference.

He said officials won't be releasing the name of the suspect, who was killed by authorities returning fire.

The police chief says the gunman used .45-caliber handgun with a suppressor. Unlike some states, silencers are legal in Virginia, though it is illegal to have one in Virginia Beach per local ordinance.


4.30am

State is 'devastated'

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says he is devastated by the shooting that left 11 dead at a Virginia Beach municipal center and is offering the state's full support to shooting survivors and relatives of the victims.

Northam said in a statement that he was in Virginia Beach with law enforcement officials. He said the entire state is "devastated by the tragic shooting" and he decried the "unspeakable, senseless violence."

The White House issued a statement saying that President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting "and continues to monitor the situation."

Democratic presidential hopefuls New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker" South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg" and California Sen. Kamala Harris, were also among those who condemned the shooting Friday.


Initial report

A longtime public utilities employee sprayed gunfire "indiscriminately" in a government building complex on Friday in Virginia Beach, in the US state of Virginia, killing 11 people and wounding six, police said.

The gunman was also killed after trading fire with responding officers, police chief James Cervera told a news conference.

"We have 11 deceased victims there at the scene, six more victims transported to area hospitals," he said, adding that the condition of those wounded was not immediately available.

The shooting happened just after 4pm (2000 GMT), when the gunman entered one of the buildings at the Virginia Beach municipal complex and "immediately began to indiscriminately fire on all of the victims," Cervera said.

The wounded included a police officer, who was saved by his bulletproof vest.

"This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach," Mayor Bobby Dwyer told reporters. "The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors and colleagues."

The building where the shooting took place in Virginia Beach, a city on the east coast of the US about 200 miles (320 kilometers) southeast of Washington, housed the city's public works and utilities offices.

Multiple law enforcement agencies including the FBI were working the scene Friday night due to its "size, scope, intensity," Cervera said.

"Right now we have a lot of questions. The whys, they will come later. Right now we have more questions than we have answers."

According to the Washington-based Gun Violence Archive monitoring group, Friday's shooting was the 150th mass shooting in the United States this year, defined as a single event in which four or more people are shot or killed.

Despite the scale of gun violence across the nation, gun ownership laws are lax and efforts to address the issue legislatively have long been deadlocked at the federal level.

150th

mass shooting in the United States this year took place in Virginia today.

Megan Blanton told The Virginian-Pilot newspaper that she was in the building when the shooting began. She and several co-workers hid in an office, where they used a desk to wedge the door shut.

"It felt like forever," Blanton said.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam called it "just a horrific day."

"Our thoughts are for the victims and families. We're working with our law enforcement, first responders, our folks at the hospital and just making sure we take care of everybody right now," he said as he prepared to enter a briefing on the situation.

Added Virginia Senator Tim Kaine: "I'm devastated to learn of the tragic shooting tonight in Virginia Beach. My heart is with everyone who lost a loved one, and I'm praying for a swift recovery for all those who have been injured."

Singer and music producer Pharrell Williams, a native of Virginia Beach, paid homage to the strength of his hometown.

"We are praying for our city, the lives that were lost, their families and everyone affected. We are resilient," he said in a tweet.

"We will not only get through this but we'll come out of this stronger than before we always do."