Shooter carries out deadly attack in US state of Virginia | News | DW | 01.06.2019
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Shooter carries out deadly attack in US state of Virginia

Several people have been killed after a gunman opened fire at a government complex in the city of Virginia Beach. Virginia state police said the gunman was also killed.

Twelve people have been killed and four wounded in a shooting at a government building complex in Virginia Beach in the eastern US state of Virginia, police said Friday.

Police chief James Cervera said the gunman, a public utilities employee, was also killed. Cervera described him as "disgruntled."

On Saturday, Cervera said the identity of the suspect was known to authorities and that the man's name, which was made public, would only be used by police once.

"Then he will be forever referred to as 'the suspect,' because our focus now is on the dignity and respect of the victims and their families," Cervera said.

The suspect had worked for the city for 15 years and served in the Army National Guard. He had no felony record, which would have prevented him from buying firearms.

Infografik Karte Schiesserei in Virginia Beach, Virginia DE

Virginia Beach, on the north east coast of the USA

'The most devastating day'

The shooting happened just after 4 p.m. local time (2000 UTC), 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 Virginia Beach Police Department said earlier in a series of posts on Twitter that it was responding to an "active shooter situation" at building No. 2 of the town municipal center and advised the public to avoid the area.

The gunman was shot by police and later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Speaking at the news conference alongside Cervera, Mayor Bobby Dyer said it was "the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach."

Read more: 8 facts about gun control in the US

Police attend the scene of a shooting at Virginia Beach (picture-alliance/AP/The Virginian-Pilot/K. McKeown)

At least 12 were killed after a gunman opened fire in Virginia Beach

Victims hospitalized

Several wounded people were sent to hospitals in the region, according to a spokesman for the Sentara Healthcare system, which runs the facilities. He did not elaborate on the condition of the patients.

A police officer was also among those who were struck by gunfire but survived, saved by his bulletproof vest, according to Cervera.

Multiple law enforcement agencies including the FBI were working at the scene 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."

Virginia Beach, which sits on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, is the state's most populous city with about 450,000 residents.

According to the Washington-based Gun Violence Archive monitoring group, Friday's shooting was the 150th mass shooting in the US this year. The group defines a mass shooting as a single event in which four or more people are shot but not necessarily killed.

law/amp (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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