VTA employee kills eight during mass shooting in San Jose
A shooter opened fire at a California rail yard on Wednesday morning, killing eight Valley Transportation Authority employees in what was described as a "horrific attack."
On Wednesday morning eight people were killed during a mass shooting at a rail yard in San Jose, California which served Silicon Valley. The perpetrator killed himself shortly after law enforcement arrived on the scene.
The attack is thought to have been carried out by Sam Cassidy, a 57-year-old employee of Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) which runs the site and provides bus, rail and other transportation services in the Bay Area. The motive is as yet unknown.
The mass shooting is one of hundreds to have occurred in the United States since the beginning of 2021, and will strengthen calls for meaningful legislative action to tackle the problem.
What happened at the VTA mass shooting in San Jose?
Reports suggest that the first 911 calls were made at 6:34am PT, with callers saying that shots had been fired at a VTA control centre in Santa Clara County. Deputy Russell Davis of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office confirmed that officers and fire departments personnel had attended to the scene utilised “active shooter protocol.”
The attack took place at the light rail yard as the site was just opening up for the day, according to VTA Board Chairperson Glenn Hendricks.
Davis confirmed that the attack had led to “multiple major injuries” but was not able to say whether the shooting had taken place indoors or outdoors, or what type of weapon was used in the shooting. VTA employees were among those killed.
After the initial shooting ending bomb squads were despatched to search the complex for signs of explosive devices after receiving information about a potential bomb threat. It is thought that the search revealed no explosive devices on the premises, but the light rail service was suspended indefinitely at noon.
Mass shooting marks a “horrific day” for San Jose
Tragically today’s attack in California was the 232nd mass shooting of 2021, as counted by the Gun Violence Archive who record all instances of shootings with four or more victims. This is not the first incident of its kind in the Bay Area; in July 2019 a 19-year-old killed three and injured more than a dozen victims in a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, just 30 miles from San Jose.
In response to today’s attack San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, also a member of the VTA board, described it as "a horrific day for our city, it's a tragic day for our VTA family.”
He added: "We know that so many are feeling deeply this loss of their loved ones and their friends."
So far this year there have been roughly 7,700 gun deaths in the United States, not including suicides, representing a 20% increase on the previous year. In response to the latest shooting, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters: "Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.”