Virginia Beach shooting: Hear how police responded
Excerpts from Virginia Beach police radio traffic show how authorities worked together to stop the gunman and rescue survivors. Clips cut for time.
The police radio crackled Friday with words no officer ever wants to hear: “active shooter.”
Officers arrived in moments, but the news only got worse. Twelve people were killed and four injured Friday in a shooting rampage by a longtime city employee at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center in Virginia.
Police encountered bodies and radioed for medical for the wounded, some with multiple gunshot wounds. As police radio recordings reveal, it was hard to initially pinpoint the location of the assailant, a task complicated by his use of a silencer on his weapon. Then the words “Officer hit! Officer hit!” rang out, compounding the rescue effort.
The shooting took place in Building 2, a three-story brick structure with about 400 municipal workers. The municipal center campus is adjacent to City Hall near Nimmo Parkway and Princess Anne Boulevard.
Police have not yet released an official timeline, but this is how events unfolded with times accurate to about one minute based on reports and exchanges between officers and dispatchers over the police radio:
About 4 p.m.
Outside Building 2, a suspect later identified as DeWayne Craddock, 40, an engineer for the city’s public works department for 15 years, shoots a victim in a parked vehicle multiple times.
Craddock then enters the building and opens fire. He carries a .45 caliber handgun with a sound suppressor and multiple extended magazines.
He moves between floors, firing at workers. Victims are later found on all three floors.
About 4:08 p.m.
A police dispatcher reports a man “possibly shot” in front of the building. A moment later, word came that the shooter was still active and that shots were being heard.
Four police officers — two from the detective bureau and two from the K9/special operations unit — are the first to respond. They find a gunshot victim outside.
Police enter Building 2 and evacuate as many employees as they can find. Many are still in the building. The municipal center has been put on lockdown.
Sounds of gunfire lead police to the shooter on the second floor. Police report they’ve located him in an east side stairwell.
A “long-term gun battle” ensues. Police report the shooter is “shooting through a door on the second floor, on the east side.”
The call “Officer hit!, Oficer hit!” goes out on the radio. A police officer is shot in the stomach and is dragged out to a location across the street from the post office. He is saved from serious injury by his bulletproof vest.
The suspect is identified over the police radio as Craddock.
Arriving officers deploy outside the east side of the building to contain the shooter.
“We have several citizens we’re trying to keep safe now,” an officer says. “I got a bunch of people I’m going to be bringing out shortly, I’ll give you a heads-up when we make the stairwell.”
Other officers find six victims and one survivor on the third floor.
An officer asks for access keys to a second-floor room to evacuate workers. Another asks for breaching tools.
“There hasn’t been shots fired in a while,” an officer says. The last known position on the east side of the second floor.
Police report citizens are bringing out casualties.
“My wife just called me, she has a friend who’s on the third floor, and they’re hiding in the bathroom,” an officer says.
Twitter begins posting active shooter alerts at the municipal center.
Officers who have the suspect trapped ask others to move to another frequency. “Clear the air, we have the suspect behind a barricaded door. Stay off radio. We need a key or access to the second story on the north end of the building.”
Police shoot the suspect. “He’s in custody,” an officer says. They render first aid while taking him to an ambulance outside. He later dies.
Officers proceed with evacuating the remaining workers.
Virginia Beach police issue an active shooter situation on Twitter. Multiple injuries and that the lone shooter has been taken into custody.
Virginia Beach police tweet: “Please avoid the municipal center area.”
People begin leaving some of the municipal buildings.
Area hospitals begin confirming the arrival of shooting victims.
Eleven city workers and one contractor are killed. Virginia Beach police, the Norfolk FBI and Virginia State Police are investigating.