Police tape restricts access to an area of San Jose that suffered a mass shooting Wednesday, May 26th, 2021, where nine people died. (Nick Veronin/SF Examiner)

Nine dead in VTA shooting

Nine people were killed, including the gunman, in a shooting Wednesday morning at a Valley Transportation Authority maintenance rail yard in San Jose, authorities said.

The suspect set his own house on fire, then drove to a VTA union meeting and began shooting, law enforcement sources said.

The gunman was identified by sources as Samuel Cassidy, 57, a maintenance worker at the VTA.

Authorities believe there are still explosive devices at the VTA site.

“We received information that there are explosive devices that are located inside the building,” said Deputy Russell Davis of the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Department. “We activated our bomb squad, which is currently out on scene.”

Davis confirmed that the suspect was dead but did not elaborate on the cause of death. He did not say what type of gun was used.

Calling it a “horrible tragedy,” VTA chairman Glenn Hendricks said the shooting happened in the light rail maintenance yard and not in the operations control center.

Sources said the suspect is believed to have killed himself after the mass shooting. Multiple weapons and ammunition were reportedly found inside his home.

Two victims were taken to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said. One was pronounced dead on arrival and the other is in critical condition.

Officials said they received multiple 911 calls around 6:35 a.m. from witnesses who reported hearing shots ring out at the VTA rail yard on West Younger Avenue near downtown San Jose.

The law enforcement sources said early indications are that the shooting was related to a workplace issue and that it did not involve riders of Santa Clara County’s light rail system.

The facility is about a block away from the Santa Clara County jail, sheriff’s station and Hall of Justice.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter it was investigating an active shooter and told the public to stay away. Aerial footage captured by KGO-TV showed dozens of police cars and ambulances on the scene.

Around 8 a.m., VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress told the station that the agency was working on evacuating employees.

“I do believe there have been some people who have been injured,” she said, noting that she believes the only people at the facility were VTA employees.

“It would have to be someone who either broke into this yard, or someone who has access,” she said.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo confirmed the shooting on Twitter.

“Our hearts are pained for the families of those we have lost in this horrific shooting,” Liccardo said.

A reunification center for families has been set up at the County Building at 70 Hedding St., Liccardo said, adding that “we mourn our lost coworkers and pray for the recovery of those being treated.”

Governor Gavin Newsom said he was in contact with local law enforcement and was monitoring the situation closely.

At noon, VTA shut down light rail service until further notice, the agency said on Twitter. Bus bridges will provide limited service.

“The light rail yard remains an active investigation scene, limiting our ability to provide service,” the agency said.

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