At least 11 people were killed and six others hospitalized after a gunman opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday afternoon.
Police said the gunman is also dead. They believe the shooter acted alone.
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Shortly before the end of the workday at 4 p.m., the gunman, a longtime employee of the city’s Public Utilities department, entered the Operations building in Virginia Beach’s municipal center and opened fire.
The gunman “fired indiscriminately” upon people on multiple floors of the building, Police Chief James A. Cervera said at a news conference.
The Operations building, which is adjacent to City Hall, houses the Planning, Public Utilities, Public Works, Development Services Center, Permits and Inspections, and Zoning departments, among others.
This is the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. since a gunman opened fire at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, on Nov. 8, 2018.
Arthur Felton, who has worked in the city’s Planning Department for 18 years, told the Virginian-Pilot that he was in the building when the shooting began.
“I never thought this would happen in my building,” Felton told the paper. “The people who were shot — I’m sure I know most of them.”
A police officer was one of the six people injured during the shooting, but his life was saved by his bulletproof vest.
Cervera did not identify the shooter, who was a current city employee.
“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said. “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbors, colleagues.”
The Virginia Beach Police Department put out an alert of an active shooter at 4:50 p.m. local time, noting that the shooter had already been taken into custody.
Gov. Ralph Northam arrived in Virginia Beach on Friday night and offered his condolences to the victims and their families.
“This is a tragic day for Virginia Beach and our entire Commonwealth,” Northam tweeted. “My heart breaks for the victims of this devastating shooting, their families, and all who loved them.”
This article has been updated with information given at a Friday night news conference.
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