12 People Killed In Deadliest US Shooting This Year

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At least 12 people have been killed, with more injured, after a gunman opened fire in a government building in Virginia on Friday, May 31.

The gunman was apparently killed in an exchange of gunfire by police officers. Though the suspect’s identity has not been released, officials have said it was a ‘disgruntled city employee’.

The gunman reportedly fired indiscriminately in a municipal building in Virginia Beach. One police officer was said to be wounded when a bullet struck his vest.

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The shooting began at around 4pm local time (8pm GMT) at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, an area of the city which houses a number of city government buildings.

The area was quickly put into lockdown by police, with employees being evacuated, according to BBC News.

Megan Banton, an administrative assistant in the building, told local news channel WAVY:

We just heard people yelling and screaming at people to get down.

One victim was shot in a car outside the building, while the others were found over the three floors of the government building.

According to police chief James Cervera, four officers entered the building, located the gunman and ‘immediately engaged’ him.

According to Cervera, officers were engaged in a ‘long gun battle’ with the suspect, before they then shot the gunman dead. They described the scene as a ‘war zone’.

At a press conference, Cervera added:

I want you to know that during this gun battle, basically the officers stopped this individual from committing more carnage in that building.

According to the police chief, officers recovered a rifle and a handgun from the scene, with many magazines of ammunition.

Virginia senator Tim Kaine said:

I’m devastated to learn of the tragic shooting tonight in Virginia Beach. My heart is with everyone who lost a loved one, and I’m praying for a swift recovery for all those who have been injured.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, which tracks incidents of gun violence in the country, this is the 150th mass shooting in the US in 2019 so far, and is the deadliest.

Governor Ralph Norton described it as a ‘tragic day’ for the city and state of Virginia.