A long-time employee opened fire inside a municipal building Friday in Virginia Beach, killing 12 and wounding six others, authorities said. The gunman died in an exchange of gunfire with police, who rushed to the scene shortly after 4 p.m. local time.
A local police officer was wounded while confronting the gunman. Chief James Cervera said the officer was saved by his bullet-proof vest. Cervera pledged to visit the wounded officer by the end of the night.
Police did not release the identity of the shooter, but Cervera said he was a disgruntled employee of the Public Utilities Department.
"There's no way to describe an incident such as this," Cervera said in a news conference Friday.
Police say the victims of a shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal center were found on three floors, and one victim was shot in car outside the building.
Cervera said four shooting victims are undergoing surgery. He says a long gun battle erupted between the shooter and four police officers. Police aren't naming the suspect, who was killed as authorities returned fire.
Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse sent a message of unity on Friday, saying the city would not be defined by the tragedy.
"We will determine, going forward today, how we respond to our city. We will come together. We will show the strength of our city," Rouse said at a news conference alongside local police.