A mass shooting on Wednesday morning at the Valley Transit Authority (VTA) light rail yard (101 W. Younger Ave.) in downtown San Jose has claimed the lives of at least eight people, likely all VTA workers, and the shooter also reportedly took his own life at the scene.
The shooting began at 6:34 a.m. Wednesday, around the same time as a suspicious house fire broke out about 10 minutes away. According to multiple reports, the home belonged to a VTA employee, and KRON4 reports that the shooter has been identified as 57-year-old Sam Cassidy. The shooter's identity has not been confirmed by authorities.
The scene of the shooting was the VTA's maintenance and dispatch center, and the agency tweeted that due to the crime scene affecting the rail yard, train service would be suspended starting at noon Wednesday.
As the New York Times reports, police believed that there may be a bomb planted at the scene, and the bomb squad was trying to secure the area.
The VTA facility was evacuated, and news reports said that around 100 VTA employees and family members were seen being escorted to a county auditorium near the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office. The rail yard where the shooting took place is next door to the Sheriff's headquarters.
The house fire was on the 1100 block of Angmar Court in San Jose, and ABC 7 reports that the home belonged to Cassidy.
“It appears that the suspect’s house is on fire but that there was nobody inside,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, speaking to reporters. “There’s a strange connection here between arson and the shooting."
Liccardo also said, "This is a horrific day for our city, and it's a tragic day for the VTA family."
Palo Alto Rep. Anna Eshoo issued a statement saying, “Tragedy has struck in our region with eight lives reported lost from the mass shooting at the VTA in San Jose, and an unknown number of wounded. My prayers are with the families and my gratitude goes to all the first responders."
The SF Chronicle reports via a press conference with Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith that San Jose police officers and sheriff's deputies entered the VTA facility together while the shooting was still underway. "We appreciate San Jose PD was with us immediately going into the building,” Smith said. “Our teams showed exemplary behavior — what they’re trained to do — as shots were still being fired. Our teams with San Jose PD were entering the building while shots were still going off." She added that "We attempted rescues."
In addition to the eight individuals killed, around a dozen others were reportedly injured.
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