Virginia Beach Shooting Update

Jun 1, 2019
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Authorities in Virginia Beach are providing new details about a shooting there on Friday in which a gunman killed 12 and injured several others. NPR's Bobby Allyn joins us from near the site of the shooting on a lot that contains dozens of municipal buildings. Bobby, thanks for being with us.

BOBBY ALLYN, BYLINE: Hi, Scott.

SIMON: And what can you tell us about some of those who were killed on Friday?

ALLYN: So earlier today, the city manager of Virginia Beach - his name is Dave Hansen - told reporters, you know, all of the victims who died. And for city officials, Scott, this is, you know, deeply personal 'cause it's not just a shooting that has rattled the community, but these are people who, you know, are public - are civil servants here in Virginia Beach, their colleagues, their friends. And to honor them, the city projected photos of all of the victims, one by one, describing, you know, who they were, how long they served the city, some months and some have served the city for many decades. One of the victims was a contractor looking to get a permit from the city. All twelve of them, though, you know, Dave Hansen said, quote, "they left a void that we will never be able to fill."

SIMON: Of course, the shooting happened just before work was about to end for those government workers on Friday afternoon. What's happened overnight?

ALLYN: So investigators all of the night have been going through a really grim, bloody scene, and it's here in a building - in Building 2. It's one of about, you know, dozens of these colonial-style brick homes on this sprawling municipal campus. And, you know, they were joined by the FBI and additional investigators from the state, and they were looking under desks. They opened closets. They scoured every last inch of these municipal offices that, you know, I must say, are typically used for quite mundane things. Like, people come here to pull building permits. They have city officials here studying traffic patterns. But now, it is a crime scene. And Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera just said it was absolutely horrific, and he said he really understands the physical, emotional and psychological toll that has been - that has hit everyone who spent the night inside Building No. 2.

SIMON: And what have authorities said about - I want to be careful using a word like motive, but what might have set off the shooter and what kind of weapons he used to carry out the attack.

ALLYN: So the motive question remains fuzzy at this point. We might learn more about that later. In terms of what weapons he used, it was a .45 caliber handgun. And he had with him several extended ammunition magazines and this device called a sound suppressor. And, you know, he entered the building using his city-issued ID, just using his swipe badge. And officials said, you know, he had done that very act, you know, every single workday for the previous 15 years. He was a longtime employee of the city.

SIMON: And what will be going on this weekend, Bobby?

ALLYN: So there's going to be a number of memorials families of the victims will be planning here in Virginia Beach. And, you know, I have to say that city officials are talking about really bolstering services for the families who are grieving, who are going to be dealing with the turmoil that is now part of their life for quite some time. And, you know, the city manager told reporters earlier that in just, you know, less than 24 hours since the shooting happened, people have been pouring support into the families in terms of money, in terms of food, in terms of even bringing support dogs that might take their mind off the tragedy for a little bit. So already, he was saying, that the community is rising up in the wake of this terrible tragedy.

SIMON: NPR's Bobby Allyn in Virginia Beach, thanks so much.

ALLYN: Thanks, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.