Virginia Beach Mass Shooting Victims
11 victims died, and 6 more are Wounded, in a horrific mass shooting that broke out at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, building 2, near the courthouse, Virginia Beach police have confirmed.
“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.” Police Chief James A. Cervera gave the casualty count and called it a “devastating incident that happened…that is going to change the lives of a number of families from our city.”
— Kofo Lasaki WTKR (@KofoLasaki) May 31, 2019
The suspect, who was not named, is dead. He was a current public utilities worker, said the chief.
According to NBC, there might be as many as 12 dead, although authorities had not confirmed this, with the shooter a disgruntled, recently fired employee.
Shots were being fired in a public utility area, when a supervisor came in and said “this isn’t a drill,” so they ran and hid in a roof, hearing muffled shots echoing outside. Journalist Jason Marks reported the suspect was dead and was a city worker who had recently been fired. Authorities had not yet confirmed that information.
Police have not yet released the names or conditions of the victims, nor have they officially released the exact numbers of wounded. A press conference is planned shortly. This article will be updated as that information is known, including with tributes to each victim. The suspect, who is in custody, has not been named.
At least 11 dead in Virginia Beach mass shooting at municipal center https://t.co/GWC2bQ5ipO
— Quintin Porter (@Quintinvents) May 31, 2019
However, it was clear that there was a very dangerous situation at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. “The basement has been cleared,” authorities said around 5:23 p.m. on the scanner, indicating they were still going from room-to-room inside the municipal building.
“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 police reported on Twitter on May 31, 2019.
At 5 p.m. on the east coast, officers were still searching the municipal building and finding people hiding. “Looking for wounded who need to be moved out,” an officer said on the scanner. They then reported that the situation was stable.
Scanner Traffic Painted a Frightening Scene of What Happened Inside the Municipal Center
Local news reports indicated the courthouse was locked down. Scanner traffic painted a frightening scene from the dispatches of responding law enforcement officers. They referred to possible casualties, a barricaded suspect, and people hiding inside. They reiterated that the mass shooting occurred at building 2.
— Captain Fuzzle (@WanagiKangee) May 31, 2019
“We have citizens bringing a casualty out now,” authorities said on the scanner. They referred to a “barricade situation.” They also referred to “victims who are either ambulatory or alive.” At least two victims were reported. A gunshot victim needed a medic in a stairwell. Authorities indicated on the scanner that they were on the second floor where the suspect was once hiding; they also indicated they had the suspect in custody.
Gordon Rago, a Virginian Pilot reporter, wrote on Twitter, “Frantic scene here. A woman I just talked to was waiting outside building 1 in her car where city manager, city clerk and city attorneys offices are. Her daughter was inside paying a parking ticket when the shooting happened.”
He continued, “She didn’t hear gunshots. Building 2 is further up the road. The woman… was parked along the main road when she saw SWAT teams running up the street. One yelled at her to get out of her car. Before that, she saw a man in a green shirt and khakis with blood on his shirt, pants and face. He had a badge on, and a cop was walking with him. Unsure of extent of his injuries.”
He also tweeted:
— bɹǝʇ ɟnɔʞ!ʇoן (@crewislife) May 31, 2019
“Evan Raynick, 18, is also here. He just moved to VB from Arkansas. He was coming to the municipal center to get a parking permit. ‘You don’t think it’s actually happening till it’s happening.’”
NBC12 reporter Eric Perry wrote on Twitter that journalists at the scene could hear gunshots. “Hearing reports of a possible active shooter situation at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center. We are monitoring the situation. Reporters on scene say they are hearing gunshots,” he wrote. He said, contrary to other reports, that the shooting situation was “NOT the COURTHOUSE but in Building 2.” You can see a map of the complex here.
“We are still actively clearing the building for victims and secondary suspects,” an officer said on the scanner.
Authorities Searched Stairwells & People Hid for Their Lives
“We’re working the incident now,” authorities said on the scanner. You can listen to the live scanner audio here.
Kofo Lasaki, a reporter for WTKR-TV, wrote on Twitter on the late afternoon of May 31, 2019: “BREAKING: Police say they are working an active incident at the Virginia Beach Courthouse. The courthouse is on lockdown and officers are out with their guns drawn @WTKR3.”
People reported a flurry of law enforcement activity. “Just passed 15 cop cars headed to courthouse on Princess Anne rd.. nice,” wrote one person on Twitter.
At least 11 dead in Virginia Beach mass shooting at municipal centerhttps://t.co/CGpBD8wYpG
— MARK #FBR WILLIAMSON (@theelboxer) May 31, 2019
“There is a shooter still shooting through a door on the third floor of what im assuming is the apartments behind Harris Teeter by the courthouse,” wrote another. She also wrote: “AVOID THE COURTHOUSE AREA AT ALL COSTS. There’s an active shooter situation occurring right now and all of the cops in Virginia Beach are flying down Nimmo Parkway.”
Be aware that early accounts in active shooter situations can be conflicting and sometimes wrong. This post is being updated as more information is learned.