UPDATED: Police identify victims, gunman in Virginia Beach massacre

Screen grab from Saturday morning's news conference identifying Virginia Beach victims.

Virginia Beach police on Saturday morning identified the 12 victims of Friday’s mass shooting at the city’s municipal center, and the gunman behind the massacre.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera said he would only say the shooter’s name one time, and would “forever after” identify him only as “the suspect.”

The gunman, 40-year-old DeWayne Craddock of Virginia Beach, was a certified engineer with the public utilities department for 15 years, the chief said.

Craddock died in a “prolonged gun battle” with police after killing 12 and wounding at least 10 in Building 2 at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center.

The victims were identified as Laquita C. Brown of Chesapeake, Tara Welch Gallager of Virginia Beach, Mary Louise Gayle of Virginia Beach, Alexander Mikhail Gusev of Virginia Beach, Katherine A. Nixon of Virginia Beach, Richard H. Nettleton of Norfolk, Christopher Kelly Rapp of Powhatan, Ryan Keith Cox of Virginia Beach, Joshua A. Hardy of Virginia Beach, Michelle “Missy” Langer of Virginia Beach and Robert “Bobby” Williams of Chesapeake and Herbert “Bert” Snelling of Virginia Beach, a contractor who was there to get a permit Friday afternoon.

Police say the gunman was armed with a .45-caliber handgun with a suppressor and shot victims on “multiple floors.”

Two veteran police officers and two K9 officers arrived quickly and secured the victims, then confronted the gunman.

“It was a long gun battle between those four officers and that suspect,” the chief said. “The suspect was reloading extended magazines in that handgun. I want you to know that during this gun battle, the officers stopped more carnage in the building.”

Building 2 at the municipal center houses the city’s public utilities and IT departments and has the potential to hold 400 people.

Family and friends of the victims gathered at Princess Anne Middle School Friday evening, awaiting word on the fate of loved ones and updates from authorities.

Gov. Ralph Northam arrived in Virginia Beach not long after the mass shooting and met with victims’ family members, police, the FBI and city officials.

“This is a horrific day for the state of Virginia,” Northam said. “That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy. They each leave a hole in a family, in their neighborhood, in this community and in our commonwealth.”

Calling the tragedy “the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” Mayor Bobby Dyer vowed to stand by the victims’ families.

“We’re going to show Virginia Beach is a city of resolve and dedication,” Dyer said. “We are going to be there for all the families, the friends and our community in a big way.”

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Kari Pugh is digital director for OBXToday.com, Beach 104, 99.1 The Sound, 94.5 WCMS and News Talk 92.3 WZPR. Reach her at kpugh@jammediallc.com