Breaking: Virginia Beach mass shooter DeWayne Craddock had submitted his resignation from his government job Friday morning, hours before he opened fire in his office building, officials said. They did not comment on what he wrote in the resignation email sent to his supervisors.
Virginia Beach officials plan to offer additional details Sunday morning on how a longtime city employee walked into a municipal building Friday afternoon and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding others.
Shooter DeWayne Craddock, 40, was killed exchanging gunfire with police.
“This was a long-term, large gunfight,” Police Chief James A. Cervera said at a news conference Saturday. Sunday’s media briefing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
Officers arrived almost instantly after the first call reporting an active shooter in a public works building came in shortly after 4 p.m., Cervera said. The police department is about 150 yards from the building in the sprawling municipal complex, a cluster of about 30 buildings.
Craddock had also moved quickly, using two .45-caliber handguns. According to a city official, the shooter’s first victim was a contractor sitting in a car in the parking lot. Herbert “Bert” Snelling, 57, was at the building to file a permit. The next victim was a woman leaving work for the day. Craddock then used his own access badge to get into the three-floor building, which houses planning, public utilities and permitting offices. He began shooting indiscriminately at workers on all floors, according to the official.
Two detectives were the first to enter the building, followed by a pair of uniformed K-9 officers who also got there fast. Officials said the four soon found Craddock and a firefight broke out. They said one detective’s life was saved when his protective vest stopped a bullet from Craddock’s gun.
Cervera credited the officers with preventing more carnage and said investigators recovered a sound suppressor and extended magazines along with the firearms at the scene.
“This is a horrific crime scene,” he said. “It took a physical, emotional and psychological toll on everyone who spent the night in that building.”
Officials have said they plan to release a more detailed timeline of the incident Sunday.
Roughly 400 people work in Building 2, though it’s unclear how many were present late Friday when the shooting occurred.
Police searched Craddock’s home and found nothing to shed light on an obvious motive, according to a city official, who added that some people thought the shooter had been acting differently over the past several months but that nothing that indicated a dangerous situation.
Craddock served in the Virginia Army National Guard for six years as an artillery cannon crew member, according to spokesman A.A. Puryear. Craddock was discharged in 2002 and did not serve in combat, Puryear said.
A 2003 report in Dolan’s Virginia Business Observer said Craddock had joined a consulting firm called MSA and was a project engineer. Firm partner C. Scott Acey declined to comment Saturday beyond confirming that Craddock worked for the company for three to four years directly before going to work for Virginia Beach.
Craddock had a number of active projects that were going well and there weren’t any alarming signals that floated up, said Bob Montague, director of Virginia Beach’s public utilities department.
“There weren’t any clues I was aware of or that were being funneled to the top,” Montague said. “I certainly didn’t have a reason to believe that anything like this would happen.”
Michael E. Miller and Lynh Bui contributed to this report.