An worker opened fireplace Wednesday at a California rail yard, killing eight individuals earlier than taking his personal life as legislation enforcement rushed in, authorities mentioned, marking the most recent assault in a yr that has seen a pointy enhance in mass killings because the nation emerges from coronavirus restrictions.
The capturing occurred round 6:30 a.m. native time in two buildings which can be a part of a light-weight rail facility for the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), which offers bus, mild rail and different transit companies all through Santa Clara County, probably the most populous county within the Bay Space. The power features a transit-control centre, parking for trains and a upkeep yard.
“When our deputies went by the door, initially he was nonetheless firing rounds. When our deputy noticed him, he took his life,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith advised reporters. Deputies “have been going by hallways saying, ‘Sheriff’s workplace!’ He knew at the moment that his time for firing pictures was over.”
The victims, lots of them longtime workers of the transit company, have been recognized by the Santa Clara County coroner’s workplace Wednesday evening as Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.
Their jobs included bus and lightweight rail operators, mechanics, linemen and assistant superintendent. One had labored for the transit authority since 1999.
Singh had labored as a light-weight rail prepare driver for eight or 9 years and had a spouse, two young children and plenty of relations, mentioned his cousin, Bagga Singh.
“We heard that he selected the individuals to shoot, however I do not know why they select him as a result of he has nothing to do with him,” he mentioned. He mentioned he was advised that the gunman focused sure individuals and let others go.
San Jose Metropolis Councilman Raul Peralez mentioned Rudometkin was a detailed good friend. “There are not any phrases to explain the heartache we’re feeling proper now, particularly for his household,” he wrote on Fb. “Eight households are feeling this identical sense of loss tonight and our complete group is mourning as properly.”
A person wounded within the assault was in crucial situation at Santa Clara Valley Medical Heart, spokesperson Pleasure Alexiou mentioned.
The attacker was recognized as 57-year-old Sam Cassidy, in accordance with two legislation enforcement officers. Investigators supplied no instant phrase on a doable motive.
His ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, advised The Related Press that Cassidy had a nasty mood and would inform her that he wished to kill individuals at work, “however I by no means believed him, and it by no means occurred. Till now.”
Nelms, teary-eyed and shaken by the information, mentioned her ex-husband would come house wound up and offended about issues that occurred at work. As he talked about it, “he would get extra mad,” she mentioned. “He may dwell on issues.”
When Cassidy misplaced his mood, Nelms mentioned there have been occasions she was scared. He was somebody who may bodily damage others, she mentioned.
Nelms mentioned they have been married for 10 years — Cassidy filed for divorce in 2005 — and had not been involved for 13 years. She mentioned he had been handled for despair.
Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Russell Davis mentioned he didn’t know the kind of weapon used within the assault. Bomb squads searched the rail advanced after receiving details about doable explosive units, he mentioned.
‘Pray for the VTA household’
Members of a union representing VTA staff have been assembly when the capturing started, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo mentioned, however it’s not clear it was associated to the assault.
When she heard pictures, transit authority mechanic Rochelle Hawkins mentioned she dropped her cellphone.
“I used to be working so quick, I simply ran for my life,” she mentioned. “I might hope everybody would simply pray for the VTA household. Simply pray for us.”
Authorities didn’t determine the victims, who included transit workers. Grief-stricken households sat huddled collectively after studying they’d misplaced a liked one, District Lawyer Jeff Rosen advised reporters.
“They’re simply sitting and holding fingers and crying,” Rosen mentioned. “It is horrible. It is terrible. It is uncooked. Individuals are studying they misplaced their husband, their son, their brother.” He mentioned about 100 individuals have been contained in the household reunification centre.
Different family and friends members awaited information after being unable to succeed in their family members by calls or textual content messages. Some had tracked the lacking individual’s cellphone to the rail yard however had no data from authorities.
“It is this terrible, darkish second for them, of not realizing however on the identical time, fearing the worst,” Liccardo mentioned. “I can not think about a extra terrible feeling for any partner or guardian.”
Officers additionally have been investigating a home fireplace that broke out shortly earlier than the capturing, Davis mentioned. Public information present Cassidy owned a two-storey house the place firefighters responded. Fireplace crews discovered a fast-moving blaze after being notified by a passerby. A neighbouring home additionally caught fireplace, authorities mentioned.
Doug Suh, who lives throughout the road from Cassidy, advised The Mercury Information in San Jose that Cassidy was “lonely” and “unusual” and that he by no means noticed anybody go to.
“I might say whats up, and he’d simply have a look at me with out saying something,” Suh mentioned. As soon as, Cassidy yelled at him to remain away as he was backing up his automotive. “After that, I by no means talked to him once more.”
Cassidy had labored for the VTA since no less than 2012, in accordance with the general public payroll and pension database often called Clear California. His place from 2012 to 2014 was listed as a mechanic. After that, he was a substation maintainer, information confirmed.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke emotionally in entrance of a county workplace the place flags flew at half-mast. He mentioned victims’ kinfolk have been “ready to listen to from the coroner, ready to listen to from any of us, simply determined to seek out out if their brother their son, their dad, their mother continues to be alive.”
The Sikh Coalition tweeted that it understood “there are lots of Sikhs employed at this facility.” The New York-based advocacy group mentioned “the group is in our prayers and our hearts as we work to be taught extra.” It comes after 4 Sikhs have been amongst eight individuals killed in a capturing in April at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis.
Uptick in U.S. mass shootings
The bloodshed is available in a yr that has seen a pointy enhance in mass killings because the nation emerges from pandemic restrictions that closed many public locations and stored individuals confined to their houses.
A database compiled by The Related Press, USA Immediately and Northeastern College that tracks each mass killing over the past 15 years exhibits that the San Jose assault is the fifteenth mass killing to this point in 2021, all of them shootings.
Eighty-six individuals have died within the shootings, in contrast with 106 for all of 2020. The database defines mass killings as 4 or extra individuals lifeless, not together with the shooter, that means the general toll of gun violence is far greater when including in smaller incidents.
On the White Home, President Joe Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-mast and urged Congress to behave on laws to curb gun violence.
“Each life that’s taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We will, and we should, do extra,” Biden mentioned in a press release.