11 People Killed In Virginia Beach Shooting, Suspected Gunman Dead

May 31, 2019
Originally published on May 31, 2019 5:55 pm
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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Police in Virginia Beach say at least 11 people were killed when a gunman opened fire in a municipal office building today. The shooter was also killed, and several more people were injured. NPR's Sarah McCammon is in Virginia Beach and joins us now. Hi, Sarah.

SARAH MCCAMMON, BYLINE: Hi, Ari.

SHAPIRO: What more can you tell us about what happened this afternoon?

MCCAMMON: Well, as you said, a total of a dozen people have died - 11 victims plus the suspect. This happened a little after 4:00 p.m. Eastern time at a municipal complex in Virginia Beach - inside of a municipal building.

The shooter is said to be a city employee, but they're not releasing a lot more information about him right now other than that. There were also six people injured in addition to the 12 who are dead. Those six were transported to local hospitals. And police say among the injured was a local police officer who was saved because of his bullet-proof vest. And we're told that the FBI is assisting in this investigation that is very much still an active scene.

SHAPIRO: We recently heard from the mayor and the police chief of Virginia Beach. What are they saying?

MCCAMMON: Well, there's a lot of emotion, as you would expect. This, again, happened on city property. Mayor Bobby Dyer opened up the press conference a little while ago for mostly local media and myself and said it's the worst day in Virginia Beach history. He seemed very shaken and didn't say much more before handing off the podium to Police Chief Jim Cervera, who also seemed shaken up but was there to provide information to the reporters. And here's what he said.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

JIM CERVERA: There's no way to describe an incident such as this. No chief of police anywhere in the country, no mayor, no city manager, no assistant city manager, no fire chief, no rescue chief ever wants to stand up and give information such as this.

MCCAMMON: And I can tell you, Ari, that I came here earlier a little bit before this press conference started. And, again, this is city property. It's a big municipal campus with a lot of city buildings on it. I'm kind of in the nerve center here where emergency management happens. And people seem very subdued. Some people seemed a little shaken up because, again, this happened to - as officials have been saying today, it happened to their friends and co-workers.

SHAPIRO: Right. I know the police chief gave some details of how this all unfolded. Can you tell us what happened?

MCCAMMON: Well, what we know is that it took place in a municipal building. And I'm told this is kind of an office building, a not-very-high-profile building on a large campus here. And if you drive around this campus, it's a place I've been as a Virginia Beach resident a number of times. There are offices where you can vote, where you can pay your utility bill, where you can, you know, take care of paperwork, that kind of thing.

And the mayor's office is on this campus. But this happened in a separate building, a different building that I'm told mostly houses things like public works or utilities, that kind of thing, fairly low-profile. Police say the shooting began a little after 4 o'clock Eastern Time. And the shooter began shooting indiscriminately and was shot and killed by police. Again, just to recap, we know that 11 victims are dead plus the shooter and at least six injured.

SHAPIRO: That's NPR's Sarah McCammon in Virginia Beach reporting on a mass shooting there that happened this afternoon. Sarah, thank you for your continuing coverage of this breaking story.

MCCAMMON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.