A municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., was turned into a scene of carnage on Friday afternoon after a longtime public utilities employee began firing indiscriminately at his co-workers with a handgun, the authorities said, killing a dozen people and injuring several others before dying after an extended shootout with the police.

Zand Bakhtiari, 28, who works on the first floor of the city building where the shooting happened, looked out his window about 4 p.m. and saw people screaming and running. “I thought they were running to the scene of a bad car accident,” he said in a telephone interview late Friday.

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