The gunman who attacked his colleagues at a Virginia Beach government office building resigned by email hours before killing 12 people and wounding at least six others, a city official has said.
- Gunman DeWayne Craddock, 40, a civil engineer, was “in good standing” at work
- He was able to legally purchase firearms and used two .45-caliber pistols in the attack
- Colleagues described him as quiet, nice, polite and “positive”
Officials gave no indication of why 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock notified a superior of his intention to leave his job as a civil engineer in the utilities department.
He was an employee “in good standing” and showed “satisfactory” job performance, city manager Dave Hansen said.
It remains unclear why Craddock opened fire at a local government building in Virginia Beach, on the US east coast, on Friday afternoon.
Police Chief James Cervera described a chaotic scene as officers entered the building and pursued Craddock through tightly packed offices, which he likened to a maze.
Police and Craddock exchanged fire in a protracted gun battle, but Mr Cervera said he was unsure how many rounds were fired.
At one point, Craddock fired at officers through a door and a wall and hit one officer, who was saved by a bulletproof vest.
Police said Craddock was holed up in an office wounded when the firing stopped.
He was taken from the scene by ambulance 36 minutes after officers arrived and died at a hospital.
A medical examiner will determine whether he was killed by an officer’s bullet or his own, the police chief said.
Investigators retracing gunman’s activities
Mr Cervera said investigators are retracing the gunman’s activities on the day of the attack, using his electronic keycard to track his movements through secure areas of the building.
They are also reviewing his personal and professional lives trying to find a motive.
“There’s nothing that hits you right between the eyes. But we are working on it,” Mr Cervera said.
Craddock appeared to have had no felony record, making him eligible to purchase guns.
Government investigators identified two .45-caliber pistols used in the attack, and all indicators were that he purchased them legally in 2016 and 2018.
Officers found victims on three separate floors of the building. Among the dead were four other engineers who worked to maintain streets and protect wetlands, and three right-of-way agents who reviewed property lines.
Other victims included an account clerk, a technician, an administrative assistant and a special projects coordinator.
The 12th fatality was a contractor who was in the building seeking a permit.
At least four other people who were wounded remained hospitalised in critical condition Sunday (local time).
‘He looked straight in my face’
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A handwritten note was posted Saturday at Craddock’s home expressing condolences to the shooting victims on behalf of his family.
Co-workers described him as quiet, nice and polite, and neighbours said he was into cars and bodybuilding.
Two city workers said that they are lucky to be alive after coming face-to-face with Craddock during his rampage.
Terry Inman, an account clerk in the city’s public utilities department, said he turned around and saw Craddock standing there with a gun.
“He looked straight in my face, and he did not see me standing there because he didn’t raise the gun,” Mr Inman told The Associated Press.
Mr Inman’s colleague, Ned Carlstrom, also crossed paths with the gunman three times.
He said he can only guess that Craddock spared him because they parked near each other and often had light-hearted conversations during the morning walk to the building.
“He had the gun down at his side. He was so close to me. He swung his arm out. He damn near hit me with the gun. That’s how close we were,” Mr Carlstrom said.
“But he never raised the gun at me. He looked up at me briefly.”
Mr Inman said he did not know of any turmoil in Craddock’s life.
“It’s so cotton-picking cliche you almost hate to say it, but he has always been rock-solid kind of positive guy. He always had a smile on his face,” Mr Inman said.
“Nothing in [his] character would cause you to think, ‘This guy is going to come in and kill 11 of my colleagues … 12 people that work in the same building’.”