• Tue. Jan 25th, 2022

Here’s what we know about the San Jose, California shooting that left at least 8 dead

Byeditorial

May 27, 2021

(CNN) – Authorities are investigating a “very sizeable crime scene” in a public transportation train yard in San Jose, California, after a gunman opened fire and left eight dead.

13 km away, authorities are investigating the attacker’s house, which caught fire.

The attacker is dead, according to Lt. Russell Davis of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.

Davis said authorities do not know why at this time.

This is what we know:

What happened?

Authorities received calls to 911 around 6:34 a.m. Pacific time saying there were shots near a Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) control center, a center that stores several light railways and a maintenance yard, Davis said.

VTA board chair Glenn Hendricks later clarified that the shooting happened in the train yard, not the operations control center, at a time when light rail was starting the day. The yard is where VTA vehicles are kept and dispatched.

The shooting took place during a shift change when employees from the midnight shift and the day shift overlapped, Davis said.

Several law enforcement agencies and fire department personnel responded to the incident using their “active shooter protocol,” Davis said.

Bomb sniffing dogs at the scene have detected possible explosives at the facility and are searching the building, Davis said.

Light rail service will be suspended for the day starting at noon, the VTA said, as the crime scene investigation has limited its ability to provide the service. The VTA is a public transportation service that operates bus and light rail services in the Santa Clara Valley and employs about 2,000 workers.

Who was the attacker?

Details of death of shooting suspect revealed 3:49

The attacker has been identified as Sam Cassidy, a source close to the investigation told CNN.

Cassidy was a VTA employee, according to Davis.

Davis said officers did not exchange shots with Cassidy, and she is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“I’m sure when the suspect found out the police were there, he took his own life, our officers were there at the time,” said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen said various weapons were used in the shooting, but did not specify the types of weapons used in the shooting or whether they were legally obtained. He said they were not considered untraceable “ghost weapons”.

Cassidy’s ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, told CNN affiliate Bay Area News Group that he resented her job. Nelms was married to Cassidy for about 10 years until the couple filed for divorce in 2005. She has not been in contact with her ex-husband for about 13 years, according to the outlet.

He often spoke angrily about his co-workers and bosses, and sometimes directed his anger at her, Nelms told the news outlet.

When they married, Cassidy “resented what he saw as unfair job assignments” and “complained about his job when he got home.”

Who are the victims?

At least 9 killed in San José shooting, police confirm 9:44

VTA employees were among the victims who were between 29 and 63 years old.

The Santa Clara County Medical Examiner’s office identified the victims:

  • Paul Delacruz Megia, 42 years old
  • Taptejdeep Singh, 36 years old
  • Adrian Balleza, 29 years old
  • Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35 years old
  • Timothy Michael Romo, 49 years old
  • Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40
  • Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63 years old
  • Lars Kepler Lane, 63

One person who was injured remains in critical condition, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

“It is clear that the victims and all the colleagues knew the shooter well,” Mayor Sam Liccardo told CNN’s Jake Tapper.

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

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

Rosen, the district attorney, said officials are still working to notify the families of the victims, but expect all notifications to be complete by the end of the day.

Where did the shooting take place?

VTA’s train yard is located in San Jose, which is in the California Bay Area. The city is about 84 kms southeast of San Francisco.

There are multiple active scenes related to the investigation of the shooting, according to San Jose Fire spokeswoman Erica Ray.

A fire broke out at Cassidy’s home, about 8 miles from the scene of the shooting, Mayor Liccardo told CNN affiliate KGO. No one was found inside, Liccardo said.

Liccardo did not specify the exact location, but tweets from the San Jose Fire Department claim that firefighters responded to a fire at the home in the 1100 block of Angmar Court in San Jose at 6:36 a.m. local time.

The first 911 calls about the shooting at the VTA facility began at 6:34 a.m., sheriff’s deputies said.

It took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the blaze that severely damaged the home and left the structure uninhabitable, the fire department said.

The FBI and the Office of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are assisting the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation.

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

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

CNN’s Jon Passantino, Eric Levenson, Stella Chan, Paul P. Murphy, and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.

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