13 dead as worker opens fire on colleagues in Virginia

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Twelve people have been killed and six others injured after a worker opened fire on colleagues at a local government building in Virginia Beach.

The incident began shortly after 4pm local time (9pm UK time) on Friday, with local media reporting that the suspect – who was shot dead by police – had opened fire in an “operations building” next door to City Hall.

Police Chief James Cervera said the gunman was a “disgruntled” longtime employee of the coastal resort city’s public works department and had shot “indiscriminately” at other workers during his attack.

13 dead as worker opens fire on colleagues in Virginia
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Police exchanged fire with the gunman before he was killed

He exchanged fire with officers upon their arrival at the scene, and one of them was struck by a bullet but survived.

Five of those injured by the gunman – who has not been named – were taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and the other was taken to Sentara Princess Anne Hospital.

Speaking at a news conference alongside Mr Cervera, mayor Bobby Dyer said it was “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach”, adding: “The people involved are our friends, co-workers, neighbours, colleagues”.

13 dead as worker opens fire on colleagues in Virginia
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The attack has been described as ‘the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach’

Virginia’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, added that “the entire state is devastated by the tragic shooting”, which he decried as “unspeakable, senseless violence”.

The White House issued a statement saying President Donald Trump had been briefed on the shooting “and continues to monitor the situation”.

Virginia Beach, which sits on the Atlantic coast at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, is the most populous city in Virginia with roughly 450,000 residents.