Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera told a local TV station that the gunfight that ended a rampage by an active shooter Friday afternoon in the city's Municipal Center lasted more than 10 minutes.
Cervera told 13 News Now that the gunman opened fire on four of his officers immediately after they made contact with him on the second floor of the building and the exchange of fire between officers and the suspect was "double-digit minutes" long.
The suspect, identified as a city engineer, reportedly killed 12 people and wounded four others before he was killed. One officer was hit in the gun battle and saved by his vest.
Cervera said the first call about a shooter at the Municipal Center came in at 4:08 p.m. Two minutes later four officers—two detective supervisors and two K-9 handlers—arrived on scene. The fast response was the result of the location being just two blocks from police headquarters. There are no reports of the K-9 handlers deploying their dogs at the scene.
The officers formed a rapid response team and immediately went into the building, according to Cervera. Once inside they received information from workers as to what the shooter looked like and what he was wearing. When they heard shots on the employee-only second floor, they moved toward the gunfire.
Once the officers arrived on the second floor and spotted the gunman, he opened fire on them. The ensuing gunfight was fluid and fierce in the tight corridors of the city building, according to Cervera, who said, "It was up close and personal."
Eventually the officers backed the gunman into an empty office, where he started firing at them through the door and the walls, police say. Officers returned the fire.
The gunman went quiet after an extended exchange of fire through the walls and doors, and the officers made the decision to enter. They found the suspect wounded and down and started to render first aid. The gunman died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Reports say the gunman was armed with two .45 caliber handgun. There are also unconfirmed reports that he may have used a suppressor on one of the pistols. Cervera said he had multiple extended magazines and emptied them. He would only say "numerous" rounds were fired in the battle.
Numerous officers arrived on the scene and secured and evacuated the building while the four officers fought it out with the gunman, according to Cervera.
With the scene secured, emergency medical personnel started removing the wounded 26 minutes after the first call was received by police.