VIRGINIA BEACH (NYTIMES, REUTERS) - A Virginia Beach city worker walked into a municipal building Friday afternoon and opened fire on co-workers, killing at least 12 people and injuring six others, authorities said.
Chief James Cervera said the gunman, who was a current, longtime city employee, was dead after officers opened fire. Officials said the gunman fired on his victims immediately.
"This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach," Mayor Robert Dyer said at an evening news conference.
The identities of the gunman and the victims were not released.
One of those injured was a police officer, who was saved by his bulletproof vest, Cervera said.
"Right now we have a lot of questions," the chief said.
The shooting began shortly after 4 pm.
Dale Gauding, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, said five patients were taken to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital.
One patient at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital was being picked up by helicopter and transferred to a trauma center at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, he said. Details on their conditions were not immediately available.
The shooting happened at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center, a campus of city offices and agencies, including the Police Department. The shooting happened in Building No. 2, which includes offices for planning and public works, among others, and is adjacent to City Hall.
A city councilwoman, Barbara Henley, told The Virginian-Pilot that she was pulling up to City Hall, when she heard police sirens and saw police cars.
"I thought it was an accident," Henley said.
She said she learned there had been a shooting and heard a male voice shout, "Get down!" People scattered.
"I was scared to death," she said.
Governor Ralph Northam of Virginia was on his way to the city, officials said.
"This is a tragic day for Virginia Beach and our entire Commonwealth," he said on Twitter. "My heart breaks for the victims of this devastating shooting, their families, and all who loved them. I am on my way to Virginia Beach now and will be there within the hour.
Virginia Beach, a coastal resort on the Atlantic at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, ranks as the most populous city in the state with roughly 450,000 year-round residents.