San Jose shooting: Eight killed in California rail yard shooting

San Jose VTA shootings
The gunman opened fire in the VTA light rail yard. Shots broke out during an employee meeting for rail workers.

A gunman has killed eight people at a commuter train yard in California.

The shooting took place at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) rail yard in San Jose.

Officials say the victims include multiple transit employees. The suspect, an employee, is also dead.

The shooting broke out around 06:45 local time (14:45GMT).

Officials say the suspect may have set his home on fire before the attack.

Across the US, there have been 230 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting is defined by the group as a crime in which four or more people are fatally shot.

What do we know about the shooting?

Early on Wednesday, the gunman opened fire in the VTA light rail yard. According to a local CBS station, shots broke out during an employee meeting for rail workers.

Police officers arrived at the scene while the shooting was ongoing, officials said.

“Our teams showed exemplary behaviour – what they’re trained to do – as shots were still being fired,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith at a press conference.

Nine people, including the suspect, are dead. US media report that the gunman died by suicide, but police have not confirmed.

Law enforcement officials told CBS News, the BBC’s partner in the US, that the gunman is 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy.

Deputy Russell Davis, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department, said “deputies did not exchange gunfire” with the suspect.

“Preliminarily, we’re going to go with the assumption it was a self inflicted gunshot.”

Just before the shooting, a fire broke out at a home belonging to the Santa Clara VTA employee, according to local media.

Authorities say they are looking into whether the suspect may have set his home on fire before embarking on the rampage, but they have not confirmed.

San Jose Fire spokeswoman Erica Ray said that officials are investigating “multiple” crime scenes related to the shooting.

Authorities said that a bomb squad is at the scene and searching for explosive devices but that there is no active threat to the public. A bomb sniffing dog detected one explosive device and a “bomb robot” is being brought on the scene to look for others.

The shooting shut down traffic on nearby streets during the morning commute. Trains halted service at noon local time.

What is the VTA?

The Santa Clara VTA – Valley Transport Authority – operates three train lines, making up over 40 miles (65km) of rail. They also operate about 70 bus lines in the city.

Santa Clara is the largest county in California’s Bay Area and is home to Silicon Valley – a hub for tech start-ups. It encompasses several cities in Northern California including Cupertino, San Jose and Mountain View.

the rail yard(Image: CBS)


Adobe, PayPal, Apple and eBay are all based in the county of nearly two million residents, which is located about 50 miles southeast of San Francisco.

What has the reaction been?

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told reporters “this is a horrific day for our city”.

“My attention will turn to ensuring this never happens again to our city.”

White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said they were “monitoring the situation” in San Jose.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” Ms Jean-Pierre said. “We will continue to stay in close contact with them and offer any assistance as needed.”

Federal agents, including the FBI, are assisting in the investigation. Mayor Liccardo said he has spoken on the phone with Vice-president Kamala Harris – a Californian herself – and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.


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