Virginia Beach gunman identified as 'disgruntled' city employee, his pistols legally purchased

Xinhua
Police on Saturday identified the gunman behind a multiple-death shooting here as a long time city employee, and his two .45 caliber pistols have been purchased legally.
Xinhua
Virginia Beach gunman identified as 'disgruntled' city employee, his pistols legally purchased
Xinhua

Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen (2nd L) and Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera (1st R) attends a press conference in Virginia Beach, Virginia, the United States, on June 1, 2019. The shooter who killed 12 people in a mass shooting in Virginia Beach, in the eastern US state of Virginia, on Friday, has been identified as DeWayne Craddock, a 15-year city employee, local police said on Saturday.

Police on Saturday identified the gunman behind a multiple-death shooting here as a long time city employee, and his two .45 caliber pistols have been purchased legally.

'Disgruntled' city engineer

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."

In the Friday shooting, 12 people were shot dead by the gunman at the

Building No. 2 of the sprawling Virginia Beach Municipal Center, which includes several city facilities such as the police department and is adjacent to city hall.

Several US media outlets had described Craddock as a "disgruntled employee."

The suspect died in a "long gunbattle" with four police officers after roaming three floors and shooting "indiscriminately" at terrified people.

Four people, including a police officer, were also injured in the melee that broke out Friday afternoon.

"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."

Guns bought legally

All indications were that the guns were bought legally, Ashan Benedict, regional special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal law enforcement organization within the US Department of Justice, told a press conference Saturday.

One pistol was bought in 2016 and the other last year, said Benedict. Two other weapons were found at Craddock's home.

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."

US President Donald Trump has ordered US flags to be flown at half-staff in memory of the victims.

In a statement released by the White House on Saturday, Trump said that he was ordering the action as a "mark of solemn respect for the victims of the terrible act of violence."

Vigils in memory of the victims were planned for Saturday evening.

Virginia Beach, a popular resort city with an estimated population of 450,000, is located about 300 km south of Washington DC.

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