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Gunman kills 8 coworkers at San Jose transit facility

Railyard Shooting California
San Jose mass shooting
Posted at 8:11 AM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 23:32:02-04

Eight people were killed and several more were injured Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire at a rail yard near San Jose, California.

The suspected shooter is also dead. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office says it believes the man took his own life.

“I can confirm with you that deputies did not exchange gunfire and right now we’re going to preliminarily go with the assumption that it was a self-inflicted gunshot wound from the suspect,” said Deputy Russell Davis during a briefing.

The victims ranged in age from 29 to 63.

    They were identified by the medical examiner as Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.

    Another victim survived the shooting and is in critical condition at the hospital according to the sheriff's office.

    Multiple outlets, including The Associated Press, CNN, and CBS News, have identified the suspect as 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy.

    In a press conference, Russell Davis, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, said the suspect was an employee at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) maintenance rail yard, where he opened fire.

    "This is a very dark moment for our city and our community," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said at a press conference. "These are and were essential workers. They helped us get through a horrific pandemic."

    Later in the day, Liccardo told CNN "it's clear the victims and all the colleagues knew the shooter well." However, details of what that relationship was like have not been released.

    "We are still awaiting many of the details of this latest mass shooting, but there are some things we know for sure. There are at least eight families who will never be whole again. There are children, parents, and spouses who are waiting to hear whether someone they love is ever going to come home. There are union brothers and sisters – good, honest, hardworking people – who are mourning their own," read a statement from President Joe Biden issued Wednesday afternoon.

    Biden ordered flags around the country to fly at half-staff.

    Davis added that the SCSO had received information that there may be explosives in the building. He said the building had been evacuated and the agency cleared it.

    “We actually had an explosives dog on scene, which detected some kind of explosive material at the crime scene itself. At that point, we activated the sheriff’s office bomb squad, who is currently on scene and will render any kind of suspicious packaging safe at that point,” said Davis.

    The FBI is on the scene assisting in the investigation.

    "It's a sizable crime scene and it's going to take some time to process," FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair said.

    The VTA president announced during a press conference that the agency would be suspending light rail service beginning at noon local time. He said the agency would be increasing bus services to bridge the gap vacated by the lack of rail service.

    "We are in close contact with local law enforcement and monitoring this situation closely," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweet.

    WATCH THE BRIEFING FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT BELOW: