Crime and Courts

Virginia Man Accused of Shooting Federal Facility Guard Dies

William Rankin, 44, was charged with attempted murder and assault in connection with the shooting at the Social Security Administration building in Norfolk

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A man who officials said was equipped with hundreds of rounds of ammunition when he exchanged gunfire with a security guard at a Virginia social security building died Wednesday at a local hospital, officials said.

Federal prosecutors said Thursday they were dropping the charges against William Rankin, 44, after learning of his death, news outlets reported. He was charged with attempted murder and assault in connection with the shooting at the Norfolk’s Social Security Administration building.

FBI Special Agent Justin Goodrich previously said Rankin entered the building on Feb. 8 with a rifle bag on his shoulder and shouted, “I want my money!”

A security guard told Rankin he couldn’t enter the building due to COVID-19 protocols, but Rankin became agitated, pulled out a pistol and told the guard he wasn’t leaving without the money, court documents said.

Rankin later fired at the officer, wounding him in several places including the upper chest, Goodrich said. A bulletproof vest saved the guard.

As Rankin turned to leave, the officer fired back, wounding Rankin, court documents said.

Both men were hospitalized. The guard was expected to fully recover. Norfolk police previously said Rankin’s wounds were life-threatening but the agency didn't immediately respond to update requests from The Virginian-Pilot newspaper. A cause of death for Rankin wasn't immediately released.

Authorities found several guns and roughly 600 rounds of ammunition in Rankin’s rifle bag, along with beer and sandwiches.

Rankin’s wife told FBI agents after the shooting that he had been dealing with Social Security over the phone for months regarding his mother’s benefits, court documents said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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