On Friday evening, a gunman opened fire in a government building, killing at least 12 people and several were injured in the US state of Virginia. It was since been revealed by officials that the suspect was a disgruntled city employee who opened fire at random. Fortunately, police were able to respond immediately and exchanged gunfire with the suspect, who was shot dead, preventing any more loss of life. During the exchange, an officer was wounded when a bullet truck his vest, but no more police injuries were reported. Police have not released his identity.
On Friday evening, at around 16:00, local time (20:00 GMT), the gunman opened fire at Virginia Beach Municipal Center, in an area which is home to a number of city government buildings. As soon as the shooting was reported, the area was put into lockdown by police and employees were evacuated as quickly and as safely as possible.
Megan Banton, an administrative assistant in the building, and witness said in an interview, “We just heard people yelling and screaming at people to get down”. There’s no doubt that this was a terrifying ordeal for everyone involved. As the gunman approached, he shot one victim outside the building in a car and then the rest were as he entered the government building, spread over three floors.
As soon officers arrived on the scene, four entered and engaged the gunman. The ensuing shootout ended up with one officer injured as a bullet hit his vest, and the attacker was shot dead. Police chief James Cervera described the scene as a war zone. The attacker was then shot dead. In a statement, he said that the officers did their job excellently and the killing was necessary. During the gun battle, the officers involved prevented any more carnage. After the shooting, officers recovered a rifle and a handgun which are believed to have been used by the suspect.
Along with the suspect, the identities of the 12 victims have not been released yet. According to Mr Cervera, the suspect’s name would only be released after the victims’ families had been notified and things had calmed down a bit. His name will only be mentioned once and from there on in, he will be referred to as ‘the suspect’ out of respect for the victims and their families.
Another four people are known to have been injured, on top of the twelve dead, including a police officer who attended the scene. Their injuries and current conditions are still unknown. A White House spokesman said President Trump had been briefed about the shooting and they responded by saying that him, and government officials, were monitoring the situation”
Based on the US tracking website, Gun Violence Archive, this incident is the 150th mass shooting in the US so far in 2019. According to the site, a mass shooting is any gun attack where four or more people are either killed or wounded. This is a devastating day, not just for Virginia, but the whole world as all we can do is watch on as the events unfold. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their friends and families.