A gunman killed 12 folks and injured at least 4 other individuals in a Virginia municipal creating, in the most recent deadly mass shooting to roil the United States.

Authorities mentioned an employee opened fire and shot “indiscriminately” Friday afternoon in a Virginia Beach municipal creating that homes quite a few city departments.

4 police officers responded to the scene and “engaged” in a “longterm gun battle” with the suspect, who was armed with a 45 caliber handgun with extended magazines and a sound suppressor, police mentioned.

The suspect was a longtime employee of the public utilities division, according to authorities. He died at the scene. Police have identified the suspect but have not however released his name to the public since they have not however notified his household.

“We’re going to mention his name when and then he will forever be referred to as ‘the suspect’ since our concentrate now in on the dignity and respect of the victims in this case,” mentioned James Cerveram, the chief of the Virginia Beach police, at a news conference on Friday evening.

Cervera appeared emotional at an earlier news conference on Friday afternoon, referring to shooting as the “event”, ahead of catching himself: “We use the word ‘event’ – that is a cop term,” Cervera mentioned. “This is a devastating incident which is going to modify the lives of a quantity of households from our city.”

Outside the entrance to the Virginia Beach Municipal Center following the shooting.

Outdoors the entrance to the Virginia Beach Municipal Center following the shooting. Photograph: Kaitlin McKeown/AP

Victims had been located on all 3 floors of the creating, as properly as a single victim who was shot and killed in a automobile ahead of the victim entered the creating. Six victims had been transported to hospitals, which includes a single officer who was saved by his bullet proof vest, Cervera mentioned. One particular victim died en route to the hospital, and 4 had been nevertheless in surgery on Friday evening. There might be more casualties who “self-transported” to the hospital, police mentioned.

As numerous as 400 folks function in the municipal creating on any offered day. Cervera emphasized that the crime scene is “most horrific” and “can finest be described as a war zone”.

Barbara Henley, a Virginia Beach councilwoman, arrived at the creating about 4pm Friday and saw a crowd of folks standing outdoors.

“Somebody told me there had been a shooting and they had been told to leave. Afterward, I heard a loud male voice say, ‘Get down!’ so I did,” Henley told the Linked Press.

“I’m just sick,” she added. “All these folks that I function with all the time. They are such genuinely fine folks, and I just hope they’re all protected.”

The FBI, Division of Homeland Safety, and the Virginia state police are assisting with the investigation.

Police at the scene in Virginia Beach.

Police at the scene in Virginia Beach. Photograph: L Todd Spencer/AP

The shooting sent shockwaves by means of Virginia Beach, the state’s biggest city and a well-known trip spot in south-eastern Virginia. The creating exactly where the attack took location is in a suburban complicated miles away from the higher-rise hotels along the beach and the downtown enterprise region.

“This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer mentioned. “People involved are our pals, coworkers, neighbors and colleagues,” he added.

“This day will not define Virginia Beach. We will ascertain going forward these days how we respond to our city,” mentioned Aaron Rouse, a city councilman. “We will come with each other and we will show the strength of our city.

Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, arrived on the scene Friday evening.

“This is just a horrific day,” Northam mentioned. “A lot of folks are on the scene, and our thoughts are with victims and households. We are operating with law enforcement and very first responders to make confident we are taking care of absolutely everyone ideal now.”

Kari Paul, Martin Pengelly and the Linked Press contributed to this report