People attend a June 1 prayer vigil for the victims of a shooting at the municipal government complex in Virginia Beach, Va. CNS photo/Jonathan Drake, Reuters

People attend a June 1 prayer vigil for the victims of a shooting at the municipal government complex in Virginia Beach, Va. CNS photo/Jonathan Drake, Reuters

By Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON – In the wake of a mass shooting that left 12 people dead in Virginia Beach, Va., the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development has called for American society to examine why such violent incidents continue to occur.

"This shooting reminds us yet again that something is fundamentally broken in our society and culture when ordinary workplaces can become scenes of violence and contempt for human life," said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Fla.

He said society must look at ways to "root out the causes of such evil."

"Action is needed to attempt to reduce the frequency of these abhorrent acts through legislation and training. I call on Catholics around the country to pray for the dead and injured as well as for healing in the community," Bishop Dewane said.

Authorities said that a 15-year employee of the city's Department of Public Works entered a building in a municipal complex shortly after 4 p.m. May 31 and began shooting people. Twelve people died and six were injured in the mayhem, they said. All but one of those who died were city employees, officials said.

Police have not discussed a motive for the shooting. According to a letter released June 3, the employee, DeWayne Craddock, sent his bosses an email hours before the shooting saying that he was quitting for “personal reasons.”

Police responded soon after receiving reports of a gunman firing at people in the building and helped shepherd many to safety as others barricaded doors and hid under desks. Four police officers encountered the gunman in a building hallway, police said, and engaged in a "long-term gun battle" before the assailant was shot.

Posts on the Virginia Beach website identified Craddock as an engineer who worked as a project manager and contact for utility projects.