At least 8 killed in San Jose shooting

By Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 0201 GMT (1001 HKT) May 27, 2021
43 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
8:22 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Here's what we know about the shooting at a San Jose transit facility

From CNN's Eric Levenson, Stella Chan, Cheri Mossburg and Paul P. Murphy

A gunman opened fire Wednesday morning at a public transit rail yard in San Jose, California, killing at least eight co-workers and wounding others, Deputy Russell Davis of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said.

The gunman, an employee of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), is dead, Davis said. Law enforcement officers didn't exchange gunfire with the gunman and investigators believe he took his own life, Davis said.

Here's what we know about the shooting:

The gunman: He has been identified as Sam Cassidy, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation confirmed to CNN. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told CNN's Jake Tapper that "the victims and all the colleagues knew the shooter well." Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said the victims worked together and were there this morning together.

The shooting: 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.

The victims: While the names of the victims have not been released, Liccardo said he has spoken to three families. The mayor described the victims, VTA employees, as “essential workers” who risked their lives and showed up every day throughout the pandemic.

The motive: Investigators are looking into the gunman's motive. Authorities are also investigating a fire at what is believed to be the gunman's home, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

An American epidemic: President Biden sent his sympathies to the victims' families and called for Congress to act on gun law reform. "Once again, I urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners, to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America," Biden said. The mass shooting is the 232nd incident in which at least four people were shot in the US so far this year, according to a tally by the Gun Violence Archive.

7:29 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

San Jose shooter "spoke angrily about his co-workers and bosses," ex-wife says

From CNN’s Sarah Moon

Sam Cassidy, the suspected gunman in the mass shooting at a San Jose light rail yard where eight people were killed Wednesday, spoke angrily about his coworkers and resented his work, his ex-wife told a Northern California news outlet. 

“He had two sides,” Cassidy’s ex-wife Cecilia Nelms told the Bay Area News Group, a CNN-affiliate, outside her home Wednesday. “When he was in a good mood, he was a great guy. When he was mad, he was mad.”

Nelms told the outlet, “he often spoke angrily about his co-workers and bosses, and at times directed his anger at her.”

Cassidy and all of the victims were employees of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), officials said. Authorities have not identified a motive in the shooting and it is not yet clear whether those killed were targeted. 

According to the Bay Area News Group, Nelms said during their marriage, Cassidy “resented what he saw as unfair work assignments” and “would rant about his job when he got home.”  

Nelms, reached by CNN on Facebook, did not respond to questions about Cassidy. Subsequent phone calls went unanswered. 

Nelms was married to Cassidy for about 10 years until the couple filed for divorce in 2005. She has not been in touch with her ex-husband for about 13 years, according to the outlet.

“He just thought that some people got more easy-going things at work, and he’d get the harder jobs,” she reportedly told the Bay Area News Group.

7:24 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

The bodies of 6 shooting victims remain inside buildings at light rail yard, sheriff says

From CNN’s Sarah Moon

 Philip Pacheco/Getty Images
 Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

The bodies of six shooting victims are still inside the buildings where this morning’s mass shooting occurred at a San Jose light rail yard, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Of the eight people who were killed by a gunman, six bodies remain inside two Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) buildings and two victims were transported to a hospital, Smith said. All victims were VTA employees. 

The crime scene is still being processed and the coroner is working to notify victims’ next of kin, Smith added.

According to the sheriff, deputies responded to the scene as shots were still being fired in the building. Deputies were able to go inside and confront the suspect, who killed himself, she said.

Bomb-making equipment and ammunition were also found at the VTA yard, according to Smith.

The body of the suspect, identified by sources as Sam Cassidy, was moved from where he shot himself in an attempt to administer medical aid and is on now on a street, Smith said.

7:02 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Multiple guns were used in the shooting, district attorney says

From CNN’s Cheri Mossburg

Multiple guns were used in today's deadly mass shooting at a light rail yard in San Jose, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said at a news conference.

Rosen did not specify the types of weapons used in the shooting or whether they were obtained legally, but said they were not considered to be untraceable “ghost guns.”

Officials are still working to notify the families of the eight victims killed in the shooting, Rosen said, but he expects all notifications will be complete by the end of the day.

The district attorney said he did not know whether there may have been any red flags about the shooter’s intentions ahead of the tragedy.

“I know that for many of the families, and some of whom I've talked to, when they said goodbye to their spouse this morning, their husband, they didn't mean goodbye forever. They meant goodbye until dinnertime, and I'm just so sorry," Rosen said.

A family assistance center has been created to help the family members, and witnesses, along with anyone affected by the shooting.

“We know tragically, that mass shootings affect different people in different ways,” said Rosen.

“Sadly, we have experience with these shootings,” he added, referring to the 2019 mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. “Honestly, I pray that this is the last time we have to open such a center in our county. We are going to do everything we can today in in the weeks and months ahead to support all of the victims and their families. And we're also going to do everything that we can to find out if there's anything that could have been done to prevent this tragedy. In the last two years in our county.”

 

7:10 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Vigil planned to honor the victims killed in San Jose shooting

From CNN’s Cheri Mossburg

A vigil honoring the victims of the mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard in San Jose is planned for Thursday evening.

The 9 p.m. ET vigil will take place at the San Jose City Hall Plaza.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, members of the San Jose City Council, and VTA representatives will be in attendance.

 

6:27 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Chicago mayor calls San Jose shooting a "terrible tragedy"

From CNN's Kelsie Smith

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took a moment to acknowledge the mass shooting in San Jose on Wednesday following a city council meeting, calling the event a "terrible tragedy." 

"I'm almost without words at this point, not only seeing what we see here way too frequently, but seeing this across the country is just devastating and heartbreaking," said Lightfoot. 

The mayor said she has reached out to San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and will continue to push and advocate for additional common sense gun reforms. 

"It's way past time for us to act and do something to stop these kinds of mass shootings," said Lightfoot. "We don't know all the details yet, so I won't opine about the motive or methods of the shooter, but this is a very, very sad day and a hard day for the city of San Jose."

 

6:04 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

The victims "knew the shooter well," San Jose mayor says

From CNN’s Sarah Moon

 San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo CNN

The suspect in this morning’s mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard in San Jose knew the shooting victims, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

“It’s clear the victims and all the colleagues knew the shooter well,” Liccardo said.

The gunman, identified by sources as Sam Cassidy, was also a VTA employee, according to Liccardo. Authorities confirmed Cassidy died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

While the names of the victims have not been released, Liccardo said he has spoken to three families. 

The victims, VTA employees, were working at a light rail maintenance facility. Liccardo described them as “essential workers” who risked their lives and showed up every day throughout the pandemic.

Liccardo said explosives have been found at one of the crime scenes, and noted investigators are “moving very slowly and very carefully in multiple scenes right now to try to put the pieces together to understand exactly what happened.”

6:14 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

Flags lowered to half-staff at White House following San Jose shooting

From CNN's DJ Judd

CNN
CNN

Flags have been lowered at the White House to honor the victims of a mass shooting in San Jose that left eight dead earlier today.

President Biden said in a statement today that it is the fifth time he’s ordered flags to be flown at half-staff following a mass shooting in America.

 

5:26 p.m. ET, May 26, 2021

FBI and ATF assisting with "very sizable crime scene" investigation, official says

From CNN’s Cheri Mossburg

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and theBureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation into the shooting at the Valley Transit Authority that left eight employees dead, officials said at a news conference.

The FBI is helping with evidence, response and recovery, according to Craig Fair, special agent in charge of the San Francisco division of the FBI. The federal agency will provide ballistics, technical forensic equipment, and analysis, along with additional personnel to help analyze the “very sizable crime scene,” Fair said.

The ATF has brought in five bomb-sniffing dogs to assist in the search for any potential explosives. The agency is also providing investigative resources to trace firearms and ballistics evidence in an effort to link it to other firearm crimes that might be involved, said Joshua Jackson, special agent in charge for the ATF.