(Reuters) - At least six people were injured in a shooting at the town municipal centre in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Friday and a lone suspect was taken into custody, police and hospital officials said.
The Virginia Beach Police Department said in a series of posts on Twitter 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 Twitter feed reported there were “multiple injuries,” adding, “At this time it is believed that only 1 shooter, and they have been taken into custody.”
Six patients from the scene were sent to hospitals in the region, according to a spokesman for the Sentara Healthcare system that runs the facilities. Their conditions were not given.
Further official details of the gun violence, which erupted shortly before 5 p.m., were not immediately available.
But a public works employee told a local NBC television news affiliate that employees were at their desks when gunshots rang out, and recounted seeing a badly injured woman in a stairwell, WAVY-TV reported on its website.
The Virginian-Pilot newspaper reported, citing a police officer, that a shooter had been inside the “operations building” situated next door to City Hall.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said on Twitter his team was “actively monitoring the situation in Virginia Beach,” and he too urged the public to keep its distance from the area and “follow all instructions from law enforcement.”
City Councilwoman Barbara Henley told the Virginian-Pilot she had just pulled up to the City Hall building when she noticed municipal employees standing outside using their cell phones, and someone told her there was a shooting and she should leave.
Henley had gotten back in her car when she heard a male voice shout, “Get down,” as bystanders scattered, she told the newspaper. “I was scared to death.”
Virginia Beach, a coastal resort on the Atlantic at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, ranks as the most populous city in the state with roughly 450,000 year-round residents.
Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago and Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by G Crosse and James Dalgleish