Eight victims and a male suspect have been reported deceased as a result of a mass shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose Wednesday.
The shooter took his own life in the presence of deputies, according to Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.
A bomb squad was called in to sweep the facility after bomb-sniffing dogs indicated there may also be explosives at the large transit maintenance facility. The sweep was still in progress as of 1:38 p.m., with the team still “searching every crevice” of the building, room by room, according to Russell Davis, a Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesperson.
Davis said the investigation was going to take some time and the highest priority is ensuring public safety.
While several outlets have suggested the shooter’s identity, sheriff’s officials have only confirmed that he was a male VTA employee. There was a separate explosion and fire incident at a nearby home that some news outlets claim belongs to the shooter.
This is what we know so far, as confirmed by authorities.
Several 911 calls were received around 6:34 a.m. and Santa Clara County deputies quickly responded to what the department called an active shooter scene at 100 W. Younger Ave. A message was posted at 8:08 a.m. on the department’s Twitter account that said the shooter was “down.”
Russell confirmed that eight victims have died and multiple others suffered injuries, at least one critically. Smith said at the 1:30 press conference that the victims were county employees and were shot within two different buildings.
The San Jose Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire just short of 9 miles from the VTA site on the 1100 block of Angmar Court at 6:36 a.m. Several people posted photos on Twitter showing a large black smoke plume in the area of the reported fire. Multiple agencies have been seen at the site of the Angmar Court fire.
A family reunification center has been set up at 70 West Hedding St. at the Isaac Newton Senter Auditorium. Concerned family members can also call Santa Clara County Communications center by calling (408) 299-2311. VTA officials said counseling is being made available.
A visibly emotional Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a press briefing shortly after 9 a.m.:
“In the (VTA) family, we mourn our lost coworkers and pray for the recovery of those being treated.“
After speaking with victims and families, Gov. Gavin Newsom questioned during a press conference at the VTA site:
“What the hell is going on in the United States?”
Calling gun violence an endemic the nation has pushed aside, referring to mass shootings as “rinse and repeat,” he added:
“There’s a sameness to this, and a numbness I think we’re all feeling.”