Virginia Beach mourns mass shooting victims | News | DW | 01.06.2019
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Virginia Beach mourns mass shooting victims

Some 200 people, including the governor, gathered to mourn victims in a vigil. Twelve people were killed and 4 injured in the 150th US mass shooting this year.

Some 200 people gathered Saturday morning for a vigil in the community of Virginia Beach, Virginia, to mourn the loss of 12 friends and neighbors killed by a gunman — who also died in the shooting — on Friday afternoon at a municipal office building.

Virginia's governor, Ralph Northam, attended the event organized by a local church and told those gathered: "We grieve with you. We are all in this together."

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump tweeted that he had been in contact with Northam and local officials.

City Manager Dave Hansen told reporters he had worked with many of the victims for years and that their loss would "leave a void that we will never be able to fill."

The shooter, whom authorities said they would only identify once, and never again, "out of respect to the victims in this case and their families," was an engineer who had worked for the city for 15 years.

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American carnage

Authorities described him as "disgruntled employee" but would not say if he had faced firing or disciplinary action at the time the shooting took place.

The shooter, who entered the premises with a security badge, killed 11 city employees on three floors of the building before he was killed by police in a shootout. One police officer was among the four people injured. Authorities said the officer would have been killed if not for his bulletproof vest.

Authorities also said they secured a number of weapons, both onsite and at the suspect's home. They say he used a .45 caliber handgun equipped with a silencer — legal in Virginia, but not in Virginia Beach — in Friday's rampage.

Dead and injured no matter the definition

Friday's shooting was the 150th mass shooting — involving four or more victims — in the United States this year. According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, the total number of people killed in those 150 incidents was 165 as of Friday, with well over 500 injured. May 31 was the 151st day of 2019, meaning an average of just over one person has been killed in US mass shootings every day this year.

It should be noted that there is great disparity over the definition of a mass shooting, depending on the number of people killed in each incident and the geographical proximity of the killings.

Therefore, the number of 150 calculated by the Gun Violence Archive — involving four or more dead or injured — is drastically higher than that of the FBI, which defines a mass shooting as four or more dead, not including the shooter — thus 10 mass shootings for 2019.

Regardless of how such incidents are defined, what does not change is the total number of dead and injured in them, which still stands at 165 killed and almost 600 injured for 2019. That number will continue to rise throughout the year.

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