Nine lifeless, including the alleged killer in San Jose Railyard Shooting
Police officers react to the scene of a shootout at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) facility on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 in San Jose, Calif. Gunner dead. (AP Photo / Noah Berger)
By Jocelyn Gecker and Terence Chea, AP
An employee opened fire at a California train station in Silicon Valley on Wednesday, killing eight people before killing his own life, authorities said.
The suspect was an employee of the Valley Transportation Authority, which provides bus, light rail and other transportation services throughout Santa Clara County, the largest county in the Bay Area, authorities said.
The attacker was identified as 57-year-old Sam Cassidy, according to two police officers. The investigators initially did not provide any information about a possible motive.
The shooting took place around 6.30 a.m. in a light rail system, which includes a traffic control center, parking spaces for trains and a maintenance yard.
Deputy Sheriff Spokesman Russell Davis said the attack also resulted in “several serious injuries”. He didn’t know the type of weapon used. He said the victims were VTA employees. The authorities did not reveal the names of the victims.
“These people were heroes during COVID-19. The buses never stopped driving, VTA never stopped driving. They just kept working and now we are really asking them to be heroes a second time in order to survive such a terrible, terrible tragedy, “said Cindy Chavez, Santa Clara district manager.
Santa Clara County’s District Attorney Jeff Rosen said he understood the shooting occurred in the VTA building.
The victims’ grieving families sat huddled, held hands and cried after learning that they had lost a loved one, Rosen told reporters, describing the scene in a district building.
“You’re just sitting there holding hands and crying,” said Rosen. “It’s awful. It’s awful. It’s raw. People find out that they have lost their husband, their son, their brother.” He said there were about 100 people in the family reunification center.
Police vehicles and orange crime scene tape blocked the area and reporters were kept at bay. The train station is located in the city’s administrative district, near the sheriff’s office and city and district offices.
BREAKING: At least eight people are dead after the mass shooting at a train station in San Jose, in addition to the alleged shooter, police say https://t.co/BuWF2htFwf pic.twitter.com/ksGRW3gXSx
– CBS News (@CBSNews) May 26, 2021
Bombing squads searched the railroad complex after receiving information about possible explosives in the building, Davis said.
Officials also investigated a house fire that broke out just before the shooting, Davis said. Public records show that Cassidy owned a two-story house where firefighters reacted on Wednesday morning.
VTA trains were already on the move in the morning at the time of the shooting. The light rail traffic should be stopped at noon and replaced by bus bridges, said the chairman of the agency Glenn Hendricks at a press conference.
“It’s very difficult for everyone to break their heads and understand what happened,” said Hendricks.
Outside the scene, Michael Hawkins told The Mercury News that he was waiting for his mother, Rochelle Hawkins, to call him on a phone to assure him she was safe.
When filming began, “she sat down with the rest of her co-workers” and dropped her cell phone, Michael Hawkins told the newspaper. Rochelle Hawkins did not see the shooter and was not sure how close she was to the attacker, her son said.
San Jose, the tenth largest city in the United States with more than one million inhabitants, is located about 80 kilometers south of San Francisco in the heart of Silicon Valley.