Man charged with shooting guard at Virginia social security office

Posted at 10:50 AM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 10:55:58-05

NORFOLK, Va. -- A man accused of shooting a security guard at a Virginia social security building came equipped with several weapons, 600 rounds of ammunition and three bottles of beer, authorities said.

William Rankin, 44, was charged with attempted murder of someone helping an employee of the U.S. government, and other offenses, after he entered the Norfolk Social Security Administration building Monday afternoon and wounded a guard, FBI Special Agent Justin Goodrich said Thursday.

Rankin was also wounded in an exchange of gunfire. Norfolk police previously said Rankin's wounds were life-threatening but it's unclear whether his condition has changed. The guard was expected to recover.

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, according to the affidavit filed against Rankin.

The incident began when Rankin entered the building with a rifle bag on his shoulder and shouted, “I want my money!” court documents stated.

The guard told Rankin he could not 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, the document said.

Rankin asked the guard to put his gun down and when the guard refused, Rankin fired at the officer, wounding him in several places including the upper chest, Goodrich said. A bulletproof vest saved the guard.

Rankin turned to leave but the officer fired back, wounding Rankin, court documents said. The guard went upstairs to contact police and later came downstairs to watch Rankin until authorities arrived.

Authorities found several guns and roughly 600 rounds of ammunition in Rankin's rifle bag, along with beer and sandwiches. Officers later interviewed Rankin's wife, who told them he was having issues getting Social Security benefits for his mother.

It's unclear whether Rankin had an attorney who would comment on his behalf.


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