Even as mourners gathered at the municipal building to pray on Saturday, new details started to emerge about the latest deadly mass shooting on U.S. soil.
This time, police say 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock brought at least two firearms with him to the Virginia Beach, Virginia, building where he had been employed by the city for 15 years. Police say his arsenal included a .45 caliber handgun outfitted with extended magazines and a noise suppressor. He is believed to have purchased his guns legally.
While initial reports suggested he had recently been fired, City Manager Dave Hansen said that the gunman was still an employee at the time he entered the building, using his security pass to gain access.
As far as whether he expected to face any disciplinary actions at the time of the shooting, neither he nor law enforcement officers would provide further details, as reported by the U.K. Daily Mail.
A coworker recalled striking up “a brief conversation” with Craddock in an office restroom just before the first shots were fired, according to CNN.
“He was in there brushing his teeth, which he always did after he ate,” Joseph Scott said.
The two exchanged pleasantries and Scott explained that he had no idea the man he “thought was a good person” could be responsible for such violence.
“I’m sure I’m going to hear all kinds of things about DeWayne, but I liked him,” he said.
One source described Craddock, who was identified as a former National Guardsman, as a “disgruntled employee.”
Upon the arrival of police, reports indicate he was killed after a “long term gun battle” with four responding officers. One officer was hit by a bullet but early indicators show a protective vest prevented serious injury.
As the Associated Press reported, the 12 victims who died from injuries sustained in the shooting have also been identified.
Eleven city employees included five working in the public works department: right-of-way agents Laquita C. Brown, Mary Louise Gayle, and Alexander Mikhail Gusev; and engineers Tara Welsch Gallagher and Christopher Kelly Rapp. The other six worked for public utilities: engineers Katherine A. Nixon and Richard H. Nettleton; account clerk Ryan Keith Cox, engineering technician Joshua A. Hardy, administrative assistant Michelle Langer, and special projects coordinator Robert Williams. Contractor Herbert Snelling was also killed.
Including the police officer, four victims were injured.
The massacre began outside on Friday afternoon when Craddock shot the first victim in his vehicle, police believe. From there, he allegedly went inside and shot the other victims on each of the building’s three floors. About 400 people were working inside at the time.
Reports described offices in the building as being small, located along stretches of hallway and unlocked to the public.
Survivors are left with grief and confusion, including administrative assistant Megan Banton who described colleagues seeking safety behind their office doors.
“I have an 11-month-old baby at home and all I could think about was him and trying to make it home to him,” she said.
[Featured image: WTOC/video screenshot]