America was reeling after 12 people were shot dead in a government building in Virginia Beach late.
It was the deadliest mass shooting this year and sparked new demands for weapon control overhaul.
The 12 who died were named. Describing a “horrific crime scene,” police and city leaders said they would only name the gunman once, preferring to focus on those who killed them. Four people remained in hospital, and were seriously injured.
Dave Hansen, Virginia Beach city manager, struggled to suppress grief and anger when he described “a senseless and incomprehensible violent act.” When he recorded the dead, his co-workers, he referred to them in the present tense.
Eleven city employees worked in City Hall No. 2. One of them was a contractor trying to get a permit. All but three have lived in Virginia Beach.
Details emerge, in honor of friends and family. Christopher Raab was a member of the local bagpipes group. In a Facebook post, bandmates said he was calm but passionate. He had been working in town for only 11 months. Robert “Bobby” Williams, Special Projects Coordinator, has worked in the city for 41 years.
Laquita C Brown is remembered as someone who lit up any room. “It’s still not true,” wrote Cinda Price of a public works employee nearly five years ago. “I can’t believe it’s gone.”
Ryan Keith Cox’s brother, Irvine Ray Cox Jr. wrote, “My heart hurts because my little brother was killed today. I will not hear his beautiful singing voice in church or home anymore. I have loved my brother and will truly miss his tender soul. Until we meet again in heaven.”
Other victims are Tara Walsh Gallagher, Mary Louis Gayle, Alexander Michael Joseph, Catherine A. Nixon, Richard H. Nettleton, Joshua O. Hardy, Michael “Missy” Langer, and Herbert “Burt” Snelling.
They have left, Hansen said, “a void that we’ll never be able to fill.”
The names of the injured were not disclosed. Martin O’Grady, head of the trauma department at Centara Virginia Beach Hospital, told reporters that one person had returned to intensive care and two operations were needed to “fix injuries”. He said one person does not need urgent care, “but if the injury was a little bigger, he probably wouldn’t be here today.”
A policeman was injured, and was rescued by a bulletproof vest. Police Chief James Cervera said that the officers responded “within minutes” of the first call from City Hall No. 2. There was no verbal exchange with the gunman.
“Once you got to know them, he immediately opened fire,” said Cervera. They fired back. This was a long and big battle. ”The gunman was killed by the police.
The shooting stunned this tourist city of 448,000 people and 3 million tourists a year, and renewed national controversy over gun violence. Joe Biden, the former vice president running for the Democratic nomination, said he and his wife, Jill, was “sad”.
When do we finally say enough? Chirp. “It has been a long time since our leaders have been held accountable.”
Cervera said the gunman was identified as Dewynne Craddock, 40, who was a 15-year-old public works employee. , Craddock spent time in the National Guard and received military training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering.
The police confirmed, on Saturday, that he is a current employee and his service has not been recently terminated, as some media reported. The militant managed to gain access to the building with active security clearance.
Authorities said the gunman used a .45 caliber handgun with a suppressor and “extended safes.” The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Ashan Benedict, told reporters that the gunman was carrying two handguns that were legally purchased and an unidentified firearm that was found from the gunman’s home was also purchased. legal.
Megan Panton, an administrative assistant, said she heard gunshots, called 911 and barricaded herself and about 20 co-workers inside an office, and pushed a desk across from a door. She sent a text message to her mother to say there was a gunman in the building.
“We tried to do everything we could to keep everyone safe,” Banton said. “We were all terrified. It felt like it wasn’t real, as if we were in a dream. You are just terrified because all you hear are bullets.”
Virginia Beach is the largest city in the state that bears its name. Mayor Bobby Dyer described Friday as “the most devastating day” in the history of his city.
It was the deadliest example of US gun violence since November 2018, when 12 people were killed at a bar and restaurant in Thousand Oaks, California. Another death toll includes 49 at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida; 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas; 17 people at high school in Parkland, Florida, and 11 people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh in October.
On Saturday, Donald Trump tweeted that he had spoken to Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam, and city leaders “to offer condolences to this great community. The federal government is here, and will be, for whatever they need. God bless families and everyone!”
The president is a close ally of the National Rifle Association, which is based in Virginia. Democrats competing to confront Trump were quick to call for reform. Senator Bernie Sanders, for example, wrote on Twitter: “The NRA’s days of controlling Congress and writing our gun laws must come to an end. Congress should listen to the American people and pass gun safety legislation.”