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Press Release

Chesapeake Man Charged with Attempted Murder for Shooting Security Guard at Social Security Building

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

NORFOLK, Va. – A criminal complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia today charging a Chesapeake man with multiple federal crimes, including attempted murder, related to his alleged attack on a security guard at a Social Security Administration building.

According to court documents, William Douglas Rankin, 44, is alleged to have entered the Social Security Administration building in Norfolk on February 8, armed with a .380 firearm, a 9 millimeter rifle, and approximately 600 rounds of ammunition, including three fully loaded extended 9mm magazines.

After a brief verbal interaction with the security guard on duty, Rankin allegedly raised his .380 handgun and fired a series of bullets at the guard, who suffered non-fatal injuries. The security guard was shot in the arm, shoulder, both legs, and chest area. A ballistic vest stopped the shots to the guard’s chest, and he returned fire and struck Rankin.

Approximately 150 people, including 68 federal employees and a number of Administrative Law Judges, work at the Social Security building on Lake Herbert Drive in Norfolk. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of them were not present at the time Rankin entered the building.

Rankin was charged with the following federal crimes: 1) attempted murder of a person assisting an officer or employee of the U.S. government; 2) possession and discharge of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence; 3) assault of a person assisting an officer or employee of the U.S. government; 4) possession of firearms in a federal facility; and 5) felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Based on the charges in the criminal complaint, if convicted, Rankin faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and a maximum of life in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Brian Dugan, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office; L. Eric Patterson, Director of the Federal Protective Service; and Larry D. Boone, Chief of Norfolk Police, made the announcement.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys John F. Butler and E. Rebecca Gantt are prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 2:21-mj-52.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.


Press Officer

Updated February 11, 2021

Violent Crime