Virginia Beach gunman was acting strangely of late: report

A public utilities engineer, who killed 12 people in Virginia Beach on Friday before he was gunned down by police, was acting strangely with his colleagues of late and he even fought with some, media reports say.

Local police are still clueless on the mass shooting at Virginia Beach Municipal Center around 4 pm when employees were preparing to go home for weekend.

Socked residents of Virginia Beach are asking why such a carnage happened in their relatively peaceful city.

A day after the killing, police identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, 40, who had been working in the public utilities department for the past 15 years.

They also identified the 12 victims, seven men and five women. Of them, 11 were municipal employees and one was a contractor who came to collect some papers.  

Of the 14 injured, three were in a critical condition, police said at a presser a couple of hours after the shooting.

A police officer who engaged the gunman was struck in the chest but saved by the bullet-proof vest he was wearing.

Mayor Bobby Dyer called Friday(May 31) the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.

The mass shooting at the municipal centre was the worst incident since a former US Marine killed 12 at Borderline Bar & Grill in California in November last year.

According to police, Craddock, carrying a .45-caliber handgun with a sound suppressor attached entered Municipal Building 2 housing about 400 employees of public works, planning and public utilities departments.

He was wearing a security badge that gave him access to restricted parts of the building.

As Craddock started firing, employees were initially caught off guard since they did not hear any gun shots because of the sound suppressor on his handgun. 

However, an alert employee who heard a muffled sound or thud raised an alarm prompting others to run for cover. One of them called 911 and four officers from the nearby police station immediately responded.

Craddock was killed after a long exchange of gunfire.

Later, police found 11 bodies on three floors of the municipal building and one in a car parked outside.

Having worked with the public utilities department for several years, Craddock knew the main doors remain open for public and work space is so limited employees cannot easily move when confronted by a gunman.

State records show Craddock served in the Army National Guard and he got an engineering licence in 2008.

Special prayers were held in local churches on Saturday for the victims of the mass shooting.