Gunman shoots eight dead during union meeting at light rail yard in San Jose before killing himself: Cops find explosive devices throughout building after suspect set fire to his own home before rampage
- The gunman – identified as Samuel Cassidy – opened fire a little before 7am local time at the yard
- The victims include Valley Transportation Authority employees; Cassidy also died during the incident
- Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said it was ‘undetermined’ how the shooter died
- One employee’s mother told KTVU that the shooting occurred during a union meeting
At least nine people are dead following a mass shooting at California light rail yard, the county’s sheriff’s office said Wednesday.
The gunman – identified as Samuel Cassidy – opened fire a little before 7am local time at the yard run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority near the city’s main airport.
The eight victims include Valley Transportation Authority employees. Authorities did not release any of their names.
Cassidy, 57, also died in the shooting. Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said it was ‘undetermined’ how the shooter died but local reports suggest he turned the gun on himself.
He is understood to have set fire to his own home before carrying out the rampage, The LA Times reports. Multiple weapons and ammunition are said to have been found there.
Sheriff spokesman Deputy Russell Davis had earlier confirmed ‘multiple injuries and multiple fatalities’. A bomb squad was searching the yard after ‘at least one’ explosive device was found, Davis said.
One employee’s mother told KTVU that the shooting occurred during a union meeting. Workers have since been evacuated.
VTA spokesperson Brandi Childress said the building where the shooting took place required security access, adding: ‘It would have to be someone who either broke into this yard, or someone who has access.
‘We ask for people’s prayers.’
Two patients were transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, according to spokesperson Joy Alexiou. One person was pronounced dead upon arrival, and the other was in critical condition.
Multiple people are dead and several others injured following a mass shooting at California light rail yard, the county’s sheriff’s office said Wednesday
Davies confirmed the shooter is dead. As many as seven people may have died, sources told KPIX 5 . Workers have since been evacuated
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office later confirmed ‘shooter is down’
VTA spokesperson Brandi Childress said the building where the shooting took place required security access, adding: ‘It would have to be someone who either broke into this yard, or someone who has access. ‘We ask for people’s prayers’
Gunfire erupted Wednesday at a railyard in San Jose
The sheriff had tweeted early Wednesday morning: ‘Deputies currently on scene for an active shooter investigation in the area of 100 W. Younger Ave. SJ.
‘Please stay away from the area. More info to follow.’
The shooting took place at a light rail facility that is next door to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department and across a freeway from the airport.
The facility is a transit control center that stores trains and has a maintenance yard.
First reports of gunfire came at around 6:30am local time.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo tweeted: ‘A shooting at the VTA facility on Younger St has left several people being treated, but the situation is still being assessed.
‘The shooter is no longer a threat, and the facility has been evacuated. I will update as more information becomes available.’
He later added: ‘Our hearts are pained for the families of those we have lost in this horrific shooting. The shooter is deceased, and more information will be provided at 9:30am.
‘The Sheriff’s Office has set up a reunification center for families at the County Building at 70 Hedding St., near 1st Street. In the @VTA family, we mourn our lost coworkers and pray for the recovery of those being treated.’
Valley Transportation Authority workers wait out side the Santa Clara Sheriffs offices as Police secure the scene of a mass shooting
The VTA operates three rail lines; it also runs 70 bus lines in the area.
The authority tweeted Wednesday: ‘Confirming that: – Active Shooter at VTA Light Rail Yard around 6:45a – Multiple casualties, extent of injuries being determined – Suspect deceased – Employees evacuated – VTA service not impacted (trains were in service before incident)
‘Asking for patience and prayers while @SCCoSheriff determines number of victims and who the suspect was, now confirmed deceased.’
‘A horrible tragedy has happened today, and our thoughts and love go out to the VTA family,’ VTA Chairman Glenn Hendricks told a news conference.
Outside the scene, Michael Hawkins told The Mercury News that he was waiting for his mother, Rochelle Hawkins, who had called him from a co-worker’s phone to assure him that she was safe.
When the shooting started, ‘she got down with the rest of her coworkers’ and dropped her cellphone, Michael Hawkins told the newspaper. Rochelle Hawkins did not see the shooter, and she was not sure how close she had been to the attacker, her son said.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweet that his office was ‘in close contact with local law enforcement and monitoring this situation closely.’
Special agents from the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responding to the crime scene, officials said.
San Jose, a city with about 1 million residents, lies at the heart of Silicon Valley, a global center of technological innovation and home of some of America’s biggest tech companies.
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