Twelve people have been pronounced dead after a man opened fire in a city government building in Virginia Beach on Friday.
Police responded to 911 calls from the public works building in the Virginia coastal city shortly after 4 pm. Four others have been hospitalized with gunshot injuries, CNN reports.
The tragedy is now being labeled the deadliest shooting in the United States this year.
“Right now, we have a lot of questions. The whys, they will come later. Right now, we have more questions than we have answers,” Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said.
The shooter has been identified as DeWayne Craddock, described as a “disgruntled employee” by news outlets. Police chief Cervera confirmed Craddock, 40, was a longtime utility work with the City of Virginia Beach.
The gunman was shot dead after a “long gun battle” with police, Cervera added. He died after authorities tried to administer first aid. A .45-caliber pistol, a suppressor and several empty, higher-capacity magazines were found near his body
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”
The identities of the victims have yet to be released, and there is still little information on the motive of the attack.
“We’re going to move forward as a city, as a community. We’re going to be there for the families,” he added. “The people that were victims of this tragic event, they were family members, they were co-workers, they were a vital part of the community of Virginia Beach, and they will not be forgotten.”