TWELVE people were killed in a mass shooting carried out by a disgruntled employee at a local government building in the US last night.
The gunman opened fire “indiscriminately” at the Public Works complex in Virginia Beach at around 4pm local time (9pm BST) – slaughtering office workers and leaving four others injured.
Police and emergency services at the municipal building in Virginia where a gunman opened fire last night, killing 12, before he was shot dead[/caption]
Police and evacuees outside the local government office in Virginia[/caption]
Cops later said the lone attacker was also dead and a police officer was among the injured – having been saved by his bulletproof vest.
The suspect was a longtime municipal employee – and police described him as “disgruntled”.
Police Chief James Cervera said the gunman stormed the office building and “immediately and indiscriminately fired upon all the victims.”
He added: “The suspect did shoot a police officer. The officers returned fire. The suspect is deceased.
The attacker was shot dead by police, according to a city spokesperson.
Cops gave him first aid but he died at the scene, the police chief said.
He added the man’s name would be released after his family had been told, but said the name would only be mentioned once and then simply referred to as “suspect”, as “our focus is now the dignity and respect to the victims in the case”.
The White House said President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shootings.
Meghan Banton, who works in the building where the shooting occurred, said she and about 20 co-workers barricaded themselves in offices with desks when gunfire started.
She said: “I just don’t know why anyone would do something like that.
“I don’t know what would possess somebody to come in and just start shooting at people.”
Distraught workers and locals gather near the scene of the mass shooting in Virginia Beach on Friday[/caption]
Dozens of police and emergency service cars line the streets in the aftermath of the mass shooting[/caption]
A huge police response was mounted after a gunman stormed a municipal centre in Virginia Beach, Virginia, last night[/caption]
Police at the scene of a mass shooting in Virginia last night. The gunman was killed after opening fire at an office building[/caption]
This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach
Outside a nearby school, Cheryl Benn, 65, said her husband, David, initially called her from a barricaded room and said it sounded as if someone had been working with a nail gun.
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dwyer said: “This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.
“The people involved are our friends, coworkers, neighbours and colleagues.”
No official details of the gunman – who is believed to have died in custody – or their motive have yet been released.
Earlier, Virginia Beach Police Department said it was responding to an “active shooter situation” at building No. 2 of the town municipal centre.
They advised the public to avoid the area.
OPENED FIRE ON EMPLOYEES
The Twitter feed reported there were “multiple injuries,” adding: “At this time it is believed that only 1 shooter, and they have been taken into custody.”
Employees were at their desks when gunshots rang out, witnesses told local media.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported that a shooter had been inside the “operations building” situated next door to City Hall.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said on Twitter his team was “actively monitoring the situation in Virginia Beach.”
He too urged the public to keep its distance from the area and “follow all instructions from law enforcement.”
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City Councilwoman Barbara Henley told the Virginian-Pilot she heard a male voice shout “get down” as panicked bystanders scattered outside.
She added: “I was scared to death.”
Virginia Beach is a coastal resort on the Atlantic at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay.
It’s the most populous city in the state with roughly 450,000 residents.
The shooting was believed to be the deadliest act of workplace gun violence in the US in three months.
In February, a factory worker shot five colleagues to death in Aurora, Illinois, just after he was fired.
Virginia Beach Chief of Police James Cervera speaks during a press conference[/caption]
Detectives scouring the scene in Virginia Beach, where a disgruntled employee killed 12 colleagues[/caption]
Investigators enter the municipal building in Virginia Beach[/caption]
Specialist cops are filmed rushing to the municipal building in Virginia last night[/caption]
An armed officer rushes to the scene of a mass shooting in Virginia Beach, where at least 12 people were killed[/caption]
Police at the scene of a mass shooting at government offices in Virginia Beach, Virginia[/caption]
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