Twelve people are dead and several others have been injured during a shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday afternoon, according to Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dwyer told the Virginian-Pilot. “The people involved are our friends, coworkers, neighbors and colleagues.”
The suspected gunman is among the dead. The Associated Press has confirmed there have been 12 deaths — up from the 11 previously reported.
At a press conference Friday evening, Cervera said the suspect was a current employee who fired at the police, injuring one of them. The suspect was shot and killed, per the report.
Cervera said the officer who was shot was wearing a bulletproof vest that saved his life.
Six people were being treated for injuries, including one at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, which is a Level I Trauma Center. The others have been taken to Virginia Beach General hospital.
The Virginia Beach Municipal Center is located next door to City Hall, close to the intersection of Princess Anne Road and Nimmo Parkway in the area of town known as Princess Anne.
Virginia Beach PD first notified the public through Twitter at 3:51 p.m. ET of an active shooter situation at the municipal complex.
Megan Banton, who works in the Public Works building — where the shooting began within the complex that contains 25 buildings — said she heard gunshots while police began yelling “get down” to people near the scene, according to the Washington Post.
“I just don’t know why anyone would do something like that,” Banton told Channel 13 NewsNow. “I don’t know what would possess somebody to come in and start shooting at people.”
Virginia Beach Master Police Officer Allen Perry said the department was still clearing the scene at the municipal complex.
Sheila Cook was in the court house portion of the complex when she heard shots fired, knowing they were nearby but not necessarily in her building. She said police told them rather quickly the shooter had been taken into custody and that they were finally safe.
“That was enough to make me feel safe enough to come outside and that God was with us,” Cook told ABC 13. ”I’m feeling shaken and relieved at the same time.”
ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION-municipal center, building 2. Multiple injuries. At this time it is believed that only 1 shooter, and they have been taken into custody. More to follow
— Virginia Beach PD (@VBPD) May 31, 2019