Officials identify gunman in Virginia Beach shooting

The gunman who killed 12 people in a Virginia Beach municipal building has been identified by police as a 15-year city employee who had served in the military.

Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera identified the gunman as DeWayne Craddock, who was employed as an engineer with the city's public utilities department.

Mr Cervera declined to comment on a motive for Friday's rampage that ended with Craddock dying in a gun battle with police.

Authorities used a Saturday morning news conference to focus on the victims, saying 11 of them worked for the city.

Virginia Beach Shooting
Virginia State Police vehicles block a street near the scene of a shooting at at the municipal building (AP)

Another victim was a contractor trying to get a permit. They projected photos on a screen and gave each victim's name along with biographical details.

"They leave a void that we will never be able to fill," said City Manager Dave Hansen.

Mr Hansen said that chaplains and family assistance workers worked overnight to notify family members of the dead, which he described as "the most difficult task anyone will ever have to do".

The 11 city employees who died 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.

The 12th victim, Herbert "Bert" Snelling of Virginia Beach, was a contractor filling a permit.

Virginia Beach Shooting
Members of Mount Olive Baptist Church pray near the site of the massacre (AP)

Authorities have said the gunman opened fire with a handgun in the municipal building on Friday afternoon, killing 12 people on three floors and sending terrified co-workers scrambling for cover before police shot and killed him following a "long gun battle".

Four other people were wounded in Friday's shooting, including a police officer whose bulletproof vest saved his life, police have said.

Police have said the suspect was armed with a .45-calibre handgun. Mr Cervera said that more weapons were found at the scene and at his home, but declined to elaborate.

Dewayne Antonio Craddock, 40, was a professional engineer who had graduated from Denbigh High School in nearby Newport News in 1996 and joined the Army National Guard, according to a newspaper clip from the time.

He received basic military training and advanced individual training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

He later graduated from Old Dominion University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. Before going to work in Virginia Beach, he worked for a private engineering firm in Hampton Roads.

Craddock appears to have had no crime record, which would have made him eligible to purchase firearms.