VIRGINIA BEACH, USA: At least 12 people were killed and several others injured on Friday when a gunman opened indiscriminate fire at a government building complex.
Police said the suspect, a long-term and current Virginia Beach city employee, fired “indiscriminately” in a public utilities building.
The gunman, whose identity was not revealed, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police.
Officials said an officer was also wounded in the shootout.
Virginia Beach police chief James Cervera said the gunman, a public utilities employee, was also killed. He described him as “disgruntled”.
The shooting happened just after 4 pm (2000 UTC), when the gunman entered one of the buildings at the Virginia Beach municipal complex and “immediately began to indiscriminately fire on all of the victims,” Cervera said.
ACTIVE SHOOTER SITUATION-municipal center, building 2. Multiple injuries. At this time it is believed that only 1 shooter, and they have been taken into custody. More to follow
— Virginia Beach PD (@VBPD) May 31, 2019
Cervera said one person was shot in a car and the gunman fired indiscriminately as he went through all three floors of Building 2 at the city’s municipal centre.
City mayor Bobby Dyer called it “the most devastating day” in the history of Virginia Beach.
An officer involved in the gunfight was shot. The officer survived, thanks to a ballistic vest, the police chief said.
The Virginia Beach Police Department warned people through a series of tweets that it was responding to an “active shooter situation” at building No. 2 of the town municipal centre and advised the public to avoid the area.
The shooting incident sent shock waves through Virginia Beach, the state’s largest city and a popular vacation spot in southeastern Virginia. The building where the attack took place is in a suburban complex.
Police found a pistol and a rifle at the scene that investigators believe were used in the shooting. Police said the suspect purchased the firearms legally.
Virginia Beach shooting update:
– 11 people killed
– At least 6 injured
– Shooter killed by police
– Shooter believed to be a disgruntled employee who worked at the site of the shooting
– Mayor: “The most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach.”https://t.co/39TymTSaca
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) June 1, 2019
The incident is the deadliest mass shooting in the US since November 2018. On November 7, 2018, a man entered a bar hosting a student line-dancing event Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California and killed 12 people, including a police officer. The gunman then killed himself
The gunman, identified as Ian David Long, shot an unarmed security guard outside the bar, went in and opened indiscriminate fire before committing suicide.
An investigative magazine Mother Jones revealed that there have been more than 90 mass shootings in the USA since 1982.
Gun control is one of the most divisive and debated issues in American politics. With each mass shooting — defined as three or more victims having been killed indiscriminately — resentment grows between both sides of the gun control argument.
The people who advocate for gun control support increasing regulations related to gun ownership while the people who advocate for gun rights support decreasing regulations related to gun ownership.
These groups often disagree on the interpretation of laws and court cases related to firearms as well as about the effects of firearms regulation on crime and public safety. Some of the US states have loosened laws so that owners may conceal handguns even in public.
According to a survey by Small Arms Survey in 2011, there are on an average of 88 guns per 100 people. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence estimates that around 114,994 people are shot each year in the US. This includes murders, assaults, accidents, police intervention, suicide attempts and suicides.
Gun control around the world
The United Kingdom
On March 13, 1996, a gunman killed 16 children and their teacher at a primary school in Dunblane Primary school in the United Kingdom. By 1997, the British government had introduced tougher gun laws. The government imposed a ban on private handguns and more detailed background checks were made compulsory before issuing a licence.
One month after Dunblane incident, on April 28-29, 1996 a gunman shot dead 35 people in Tasmania. Just 12 days later, Australia decided to enact sweeping gun controls. The government banned all rapid-fire rifles. All individual were required to register their weapons and the government bought guns from owners.
On March 11, 2009, a 17-year-old boy killed 16 people at a secondary school in Winnenden, Germany. Three months later, the German parliament introduced stricter gun laws. It imposed tougher fines if weapons were not locked away. Police inspection of gun owner’s homes was made mandatory and the minimum age of 18 was fixed to fire a rifle.
On July 22, 2011, a right-wing extremist killed 69 people at a summer camp and eight with a car bomb in Oslo. Norway at that point had already introduced strict gun laws. The laws included specifying a “valid reason” for owning a gun and getting a government licence.
A self-proclaimed white supremacist killed 51 people at two mosques at Christchurch, New Zealand on March 15, 2019. Soon after a country-wide ban was imposed on all military-style semiautomatic weapons, all high-capacity ammunition magazines and all parts that allow weapons to be modified.