Twelve people are dead, including the suspected gunman, after a shooting occurred at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday afternoon, according to police.
Six additional victims were taken to the hospital with injuries, Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera told reporters during a press conference Friday evening. An emergency services spokesperson would not comment on the condition of the injured victims.
One of the injured victims is a Virginia Beach Police officer who was saved by his bulletproof vest, Cervera said.
The suspect, who was a current employee at the Municipal Center, walked into the building at around 4 p.m. and began to “indiscriminately fire upon all the victims,” Cervera said.
Responding officers then entered the building and secured as many victims as they could, Cervera said. The suspect engaged the officers, who returned fire, striking and killing him, Cervera said.
The shooting occurred on multiple floors, Cervera said. The suspect has not yet been identified.
Six victims were transported to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and at least one was admitted to its Level I Trauma Center, according to Dale Gauding, senior communications advisor for brand engagement at Sentara Healthcare.
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
Officials are in the process of identifying the victims, Cervara said.
Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer said Friday was “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.”
Authorities are asking people to avoid the Municipal Center area. The scene is now secure but it is still active, Cervera said.
The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and Virginia State Police are assisting in the investigation.
Cervera described the shooting as a “devastating incident” that “will change a lot of lives.”