Monday 26 August 2019

Gunman in latest mass shooting had quit his job just hours before killings

Emotion: A co-worker of one of the victims cries at a memorial in Virginia Beach. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Emotion: A co-worker of one of the victims cries at a memorial in Virginia Beach. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Ben Finley

The gunman who killed 12 people inside a government building in the US state of Virginia had handed in his notice hours before the attack.

The killer, who worked as a civil engineer, was an employee "in good standing" in his department, said a spokesman of the city of Virginia Beach, who described the man's performance as "satisfactory".

Spokesman Dave Hansen said the shooter had notified superiors of his intention to quit via email on Friday, hours before the shooting.

Authorities have identified the attacker as 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock. He was killed following a gun battle with police.

Police Chief James Cervera said they were unsure whether the suspect targeted anyone specifically.

Among the victims were four other engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands and three right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines. Others included an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant and a special projects co-ordinator. In all, they had served Virginia Beach for more than 150 years.

Police have declined to comment on the gunman's motive. City officials uttered his name just once and said they would not mention it again.

Joseph Scott, an engineering technician with the utilities department, said he had worked with Craddock and had a brief interaction with him on Friday, passing him in the men's toilet about five minutes before the shooting.

"He was in there brushing his teeth, which he always did after he ate," Mr Scott said. "I said 'Hey, how you doing? What are you doing this weekend?' It was just a brief conversation."

Mr Scott said he left for the day right afterwards and learned of the shooting when a colleague and then his son called him asking whether he was OK.

"I couldn't believe that it happened," he said.

One of the dead employees had worked for the city for 41 years. Six worked in the same department as the suspect. The victims were found throughout the building, on three floors, police said.

The municipal building was open to the public, but security passes were required to enter inner offices, conference rooms and other work areas. As a current employee, Craddock would have had the pass to enter the inner offices.

Craddock appeared to have had no record, making him eligible to buy guns. Investigators found two .45-calibre pistols used in the attack.

Irish Independent

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