As many as 11 people were killed and at least six others injured when a disgruntled public utility employee opened fire on co-workers at city offices in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday afternoon. He was later shot dead by the police. The shooting was believed to be the deadliest act of workplace gun violence in the United States since February
Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera did not give many details of the mass shooting in the coastal resort city. He said the gunman immediately and indiscriminately fired upon all the victims after he entered the municipal building shortly after 4 pm.
“The suspect did shoot a police officer. The officers returned fire. The suspect is deceased,” Cervera said. A city spokesman later confirmed to Reuters by email that the gunman was shot by police and later pronounced dead at a hospital.
The officer hit was among six people who survived their injuries, and he was saved by his bullet-proof vest, Cervera said.
The precise circumstances of Friday’s shooting remained under investigation, with FBI agents and Homeland Security Department forensic technicians assisting local police due to the size and scope and intensity of the crime scene, Cervera said.
The police chief said the suspect was a longtime public utilities employee, and described him as “disgruntled,” but declined to say more about what may have precipitated the attack.
“We have more questions than we really have answers,” he told reporters about two hours after the shooting.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said at a news conference with the police chief. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbours, colleagues.”
In Washington, a White House spokesman said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting and “continues to monitor the situation.”