(CNN)A gunman opened fire at a public transit rail yard in San Jose, California, Wednesday morning, killing at least 8 people and wounding others, Deputy Russell Davis of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said.The gunman, a male employee of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), is dead, Davis said. He has been identified as Sam Cassidy, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to CNN. Davis said law enforcement officers didn’t exchange gunfire with the gunman and investigators believe he took his own life.
“I know for sure that when the suspect knew the law enforcement was there, he took his own life, our deputies were right there at that time,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith. Investigators are looking into the gunman’s motive, Davis said.
Police also received information about explosive devices inside the transit building, which the bomb squad is investigating, he said. In addition, a house that erupted in flames Wednesday morning in San Jose around the same time as the shooting is believed to be the gunman’s home, a source close to the investigation told CNN.
The shooting began just after 6:30 a.m. PT when several 911 calls reported shots fired near a VTA control center, a hub that stores light rail trains and a maintenance yard, Davis said. VTA employees were among the victims. Multiple law enforcement agencies and Fire Department personnel responded to the incident using their “active shooter protocol,” Davis said.
Law enforcement officers respond to the scene of a shooting at a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) facility on Wednesday.
“While shots were still being fired, our teams were entering the building,” the sheriff said.
The shooting occurred in the VTA rail yard — not the operations control center — at a time when light rail was starting up for the day, VTA Board Chairperson Glenn Hendricks said. The yard is where the VTA vehicles are maintained and dispatched.
“A horrible tragedy has happened today, and our thoughts and love goes out to the VTA family, the organization and what they’ve had to go through,” Hendricks said. Light rail service was suspended for the day as of noon, the VTA said, as the crime scene investigation limited its ability to provide service. The VTA is a public transit service that operates bus and light rail services in the Santa Clara Valley and employs about 2,000 workers.
The mass shooting is the 232nd incident in which a minimum of four people were shot in the US so far this year, according to a tally by the Gun Violence Archive. The Bay Area is no stranger to such spurts of violence; in July 2019, a 19-year-old gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, located about 30 miles from San Jose, killing three people and wounding more than a dozen.