A longtime city employee opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach on Friday, killing 12 people, and wounding six others, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life. The employee was later shot and killed by police.
Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said the shooting happened shortly after 4 p.m. when the employee of the Public Utilities Department entered a building in the city’s Municipal Center, and “immediately began to indiscriminately fire upon all of the victims.”
Police entered the building and got out as many employees as they could, then exchanged fire with the suspect, who was killed, the chief said.
An administrative assistant, Megan Banton, who works in the building, said she heard gunshots, then called 911 and barricaded a door.
“We tried to do everything we could to keep everybody safe,” she said. “We were all just terrified. It felt like it wasn’t real, like we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you can hear is the gunshots.”
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said. “The people involved are our friends, coworkers, neighbors and colleagues.”
The shooter was identified hours later by authorities as Dewayne Craddock.
According to CNN, Craddock, 40, worked as a certified professional engineer for the city of Virginia Beach in the Public Utilities Department. He is listed on department press releases as a point of contact for information on local road projects over the last several years. He had worked with the department for about 15 years and was still employed during the attack.
A search of online court records in Virginia Beach and surrounding counties shows Craddock was only cited for a motor vehicle infraction in 2013, but nothing else.