Police on Saturday identified the shooter who killed 12 people in a Friday carnage at a municipal building here as a longtime city employee, as they recovered more weapons believed to belong to him.
At a press conference Saturday, Virginia Beach police chief Jim Cervera identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, 40, a city engineer who had been employed with the city’s public utility department for the past 15 years.
City Manager Dave Hansen said Craddock was still employed in the department at the time of the shooting and had a security pass and “was authorized to enter the building.”
Several U.S. media outlets had described Craddock as a “disgruntled employee.”
The suspect, who died in a “long gunbattle” with four police officers after roaming three floors and shooting “indiscriminately” at terrified people, was said to have used a .45 caliber pistol equipped with a “sound suppressor” device and extended ammunition magazines.
“This is a large-scale crime scene, it’s a horrific crime scene,” Cervera told reporters, adding that investigators who spent the night inside the building endured a “physical, emotional and psychological toll.”
The scene was like a “war zone,” Cervera said, adding that more weapons were recovered at the scene and from the suspect’s home.
The police chief declined to comment on any possible motive.
“Right now, we have a lot of questions. The whys, they will come later. Right now, we have more questions than we have answers,” Cervera said.
The FBI is assisting local police in conducting the investigation, he added.
Eleven of the 12 deaths in Friday’s shooting were employees of the city, Hansen said. The other was a contractor seeking a permit.
“I have worked with most of them for many years,” he said. “They leave a void that we will never be able to fill.”
Vigils in memory of the victims were planned for Saturday evening.
Four people, including a police officer, were also injured in the melee that broke out Friday afternoon in the popular Virginia resort city with an estimated population of some 450,000, which is about 300 kilometers south of Washington, D.C.
The shooting occurred in Building No. 2 of the sprawling Virginia Beach Municipal Center, which includes several city facilities, including the police department.
Building No. 2 houses offices for planning and public works and is adjacent to city hall.
U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted Saturday that he has spoken to state and city officials to offer condolences to the community.
The Virginia Beach shooting was the worst mass shooting in the United States since November 2018, when a dozen people were killed at a California bar.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said on Friday. “The people involved are our friends, coworkers, neighbors and colleagues.” Enditem