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Police search for motive in US shooting that killed 12

Police search for motive in US shooting that killed 12

VIRGINIA BEACH: Police in Virginia searched on Saturday for a motive as to why a public utilities engineer shot indiscriminately at his workplace colleagues, turning a municipal building into a war zone as he killed at least 12 people and wounded four.

Authorities named the gunman in Friday’s attack as DeWayne Craddock, described in news reports as being 40 years of age, and said that in order to focus attention on the victims of the latest spasm of America’s gun violence epidemic, they would not pronounce his name again.

Craddock, killed in a fierce gun battle with police, was a current employee of the public works department of Virginia Beach and had worked there about 15 years, police chief James Cervera told a news conference.

Cervera declined to say if Craddock had been disciplined recently or otherwise had red flags in his personnel record. The Wall Street Journal reported that he had recently been fired.

“We are doing an in-depth investigation pre-incident as well as [of] the incident,” Cervera said.

Suspect was reportedly dismissed from his job

Police responding to emergency calls from the municipal centre, a campus of 30 red brick colonial-style buildings, engaged the shooter in a matter of minutes, Cervera said.

Craddock was armed with a .45-calibersemi-automatic pistol equipped with a sound suppressor and high-capacity magazines and shot people on all three floors of the building, Cervera said.

People locked themselves inside offices and cowered on the floor in workplace cubicles as the gun battle raged. Bullet casings littered the floor, news reports said.

“This was a long-term, large gun battle,” the police chief said. One officer was shot but survived thanks to his bullet-proof vest.

After the massacre more guns were found at the scene and at Craddock’s home, Cervera said.

Police unsuccessfully tried to resuscitate the suspect after he was shot, Cervera said.

The building where the shooting took place in Virginia Beach — a city of 450,000 people — housed the city’s public works and utilities offices and can have 400 people inside at any time.

According to the Washington-based Gun Violence Archive monitoring group, Friday’s shooting was the 150th mass shooting in the United States this year, defined as a single event in which four or more people are shot or killed.

Despite the scale of gun violence across the nation, gun ownership laws are lax, and efforts to address the issue legislatively have long been deadlocked at the federal level.

VEGAS CONCERT: A 64-year-old retired accountant shoots down from his hotel room at a crowd attending an outdoor country music concert on Oct 1, 2017, killing 58 people and wounding around 550 before committing suicide.

FLORIDA CLUB: A heavily-armed gunman opens fire inside a gay nightclub in the city of Orlando on June 12, 2016, killing 49 people. The attacker is killed in a shootout with police. He pledges allegiance to the IS, which later claims responsibility.

SANDY HOOK: A 20-year-old man kills his mother in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012 before blasting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and shooting dead 20 six- and seven-year old children and six adults. He commits suicide.

TEXAS CHURCH: A 26-year-old man who was court-martialed while in the Air Force shoots dead 25 worshippers during Sunday services and wounds at least 20 others at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs outside San Antonio, Texas, on Nov 5, 2017. The shooter flees and is later found dead in his car with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

FLORIDA HIGH SCHOOL: A 19-year-old former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was expelled for disciplinary reasons returns to the school in Parkland, Florida, and opens fire on Feb 14, 2018, killing 14 students and three adult staff members.

CALIFORNIA OFFICE PARTY: A radicalised Muslim couple storm a Christmas office party at a social services centre in San Bernardino in December 2015 and gun down 14 people, wounding 22 others. They are shot dead by police.

CALIFORNIA BAR: On Nov 7, 2018 a 28-year-old US Marine Corps combat veteran opens fire in a crowded country music bar in California, killing 12 people. The assailant, identified as Ian David Long, a troubled former machine gunner who served a tour in Afghanistan, dies of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

COLORADO CINEMA: A young man wearing body armour opens fire in a movie theatre showing a late-night premiere of a Batman film in Aurora, Colorado in July 2012. Twelve people are killed and 70 wounded. He is sentenced to life in prison.

SYNAGOGUE IN PITTSBURGH: On Oct 27, 2018, a 46-year-old gunman bursts into the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg during Shabbat services, killing eleven people. Robert Bowers, who was arrested at the shooting scene, is indicted on 29 counts, some of which carry the death penalty.

HIGH SCHOOL IN SANTA FE: A 17-year-old student armed with a shotgun and a revolver opens fire just as classes are starting at his school in Santa Fe, Texas, on May 18, 2018, killing ten people including eight students. The student, who authorities say used weapons legally owned by his father, is taken into custody on murder charges.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2019

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