Following the shooting death of 12 people in a Virginia Beach, Virginia, municipal center on Friday, celebrities are speaking out against gun violence. Among them was The Ranch actor Jim Beaver, who shared a controversial take on the matter via Twitter hours after the incident unfolded.
Following the shooting — one of more than 100 mass shootings in the United States this year, according to ABC 15 — Beaver tweeted that he wasn't interested in the opinions of people who "haven't done anything active" to curb the escalation of such crimes.
The 68-year-old actor called the epidemic a "rampant American curse," adding that "thoughts and prayers" weren't going to cut it.
In subsequent tweets, Beaver addressed backlash from his opinions.
He noted that he's a gun owner, and is opposed to "banning them," but said something needs to change.
The actor added that he found it appalling that anyone could hear about a shooting massacre and think,"'Oh, that's terrible. They'll try again to take my guns.'"
In closing, Beaver joked that he anticipated losing followers en mass because he had "come out against gun deaths."
Despite the heat he took for speaking out, Beaver said he was hopeful for "a better America" — one where even "gun nuts" don't have to worry about being victims of a mass shooting.
The shooting took place Friday evening. Virginia Beach police began tweeting about it at about 4:54 p.m. local time, warning the public to avoid the area. In total, 11 people and the shooter were killed, CNN said. While an early report from PEOPLE alleged that the shooter had been apprehended, it was later confirmed by authorities that the man was killed in a shootout with police.
The shooter was later identified as DeWayne Craddock. The Wall Street Journal reported that the 40-year-old had been employed as a utilities worked for some time prior to the shooting. Police said the man, whom CNN revealed handed in his resignation that afternoon, fired indiscriminately at his victims. His motives for the shooting remain unclear. Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen said Craddock's "performance was satisfactory" and he was "within good standing in his department." He had no previous issues at work before the shooting.
In addition to those killed in the shooting, six people were taken to local hospitals to be treated for various injuries. Among the injured was a police officer, whom a police chief said was saved by his bullet-proof vest. One victim, initially taken to Princess Anne Hospital, was transferred to Norfolk General Hospital, which is a Level I trauma center. Three of the six injured victims are said to be in critical condition.