SAN JOSE — A mass shooting early Wednesday morning at a VTA light rail yard left nine people dead, including the male shooter, authorities said.
The rail service was shut down as authorities investigated the shooting, which left VTA workers and local leaders shaken.
“We are in a very dark moment, but I am heartened to see the response of the VTA family for coming together to help their coworkers,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a press conference. “We are going to do everything we can to support the families of those who lost their loved ones.”
Here’s what we know so far:
A man opened gunfire just after 6:30 a.m. Wednesday somewhere in the VTA maintenance yard near the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. Other details — including the motive — remained unclear.
Authorities have asked people to stay away from the area of E. Taylor Street, W. Hedding Street and E. Mission Street as they investigate. Raj Singh, the recording and financial secretary for the VTA operators union Amalgamated Transit Union local 265, said the shooting occurred during the busiest time of day at the maintenance facility, when operators and maintenance workers are getting ready for the start of the day’s service.
Explosives also were reported at the VTA facility in the 100 block of West Younger Avenue, according to a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office. Bomb squads were dispatched to the scene.
How many people were killed or injured?
Authorities confirmed at 11 a.m. that nine people had died, including the shooter. At least two male victims were transferred to Valley Medical Center in San Jose, spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said. One person was pronounced dead on arrival and another was in critical condition.
One VTA worker told this news organization at the scene of the shooting that “the whole crew is gone, the whole shift is gone,” but declined to say how many people that included.
Who are the victims?
No victims had been positively identified as of mid-morning Wednesday, but some are VTA employees, according to the sheriff’s spokesman.
Who is the shooter?
Authorities confirmed the shooter was a male VTA employee but did not immediately provide any other details.
A heavy police presence was also spotted Wednesday morning outside the site of a house fire at the home of a VTA employee in San Jose.
The single-alarm fire was reported at 6:36 a.m., around the time of the mass shooting. According to public records, a VTA substation employee lives at the home. In addition to local authorities, the FBI arrived on scene Wednesday morning.
Will this affect light rail service?
Yes. The VTA announced it would suspend its rail operations starting at noon Wednesday and replace the service with buses.
Where do I go if my family member was at the VTA yard Wednesday morning?
A staging area for families with relatives at the scene was set up go to 70 Hedding St., at the sheriff’s office headquarters, which are next door to the VTA light rail yard. Families can call 408-299-2311 for information.
Staff writers Robert Salonga, David DeBolt, Nico Savidge and Aldo Toledo contributed to this report.
Complete coverage of the VTA mass shooting.
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