Samuel Cassidy: San Jose VTA rail yard mass shooting leaves multiple deaths and injuries as gunman opened fire during union meeting at Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority hub. No known motive.
No less than nine people are dead and several others injured following a mass shooting at a downtown San Jose, California light rail yard involving public transit workers, the county’s sheriff’s office said Wednesday. The gunman was described as being one of the deceased.
Sаmuel Cаssidy, 57, a technician worker at the VTA hub opened gunfire circa 6.34 am local time at the yard run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority near the city’s main airport. At the time of the shooting, workers were attending a union meeting KTVU reported.
Santa Clara County sheriff´s spokesman Deputy Russell Davis said the investigation was ongoing and the exact number of deaths and injuries had yet to be specified.
‘I will tell you that they are multiple injuries and multiple fatalities in this case,’ Davis said. He also confirmed the shooter is dead, while not saying how they died. Also not disclosed was the weapon used. Reports indicated died by suicide.
Sam James Cassidy is understood to have set fire to his own home some eight miles away before carrying out the rampage, The LA Times reports. Multiple weapons and ammunition are said to have been found at his residence. A second fire was also reported to have been started at a plywood and lumber business at the same time, also thought to be linked to Cassidy.
The gunman in the deadly shooting at VTA rail yard in San Jose has been identified as Samuel Cassidy an employee of the VTA, according to authorities. At least 9 people are dead, including the suspect. pic.twitter.com/M7BCx8Vzlr
— Stephanie Magallon-Telemundo 23 (@MagallonNews) May 26, 2021
Was shooter a current or past employee?
One employee’s mother told KTVU that the shooting occurred during a union meeting.
Payroll records obtained by the ABC7 show Cassidy made $160,000 in base, overtime and other pay as a VTA “substation maintainer.”
It wasn’t immediately clear if the technician was still employed at the VTA light rail facility.
VTA spokesperson Brandi Childress said the building where the shooting took place required security access, adding: ‘It would have to be someone who either broke into this yard, or someone who has access.
‘We ask for people’s prayers.’
The sheriff had tweeted early Wednesday morning: ‘Deputies currently on scene for an active shooter investigation in the area of 100 W. Younger Ave. SJ.
‘Please stay away from the area. More info to follow.’
Of note, Cassidy did not have a prior criminal record and had previously been married for ten years before a 2009 divorce. The man’s former wife declined to discuss what led to the marriage breakdown KTVU reported.
Authorities had yet to provide a motive for the shootings or why the worker set his own home on fire while social media indicated he was embroiled in a domestic violence case- that assertion had yet to be validated.
Mass shooting common occurrence in the US
Joy Lovett, 61, a former neighbor, was in shock upon hearing news of the mass shooting, describing Cassidy in an interview as ‘normal,’ and recalling that he seemed to have a typical social life and frequently had friends around.
There was ‘nothing bizarre’ about him, she told The Daily Beast. ‘He didn’t seem isolated…. He was a happy go-lucky-guy.’
‘He didn’t talk about his job or politics. I just found out he was dead and his house on fire and all that a minute ago,’ the shooter’s father, James Edward Cassidy told the Daily Beast in an interview.
San Jose, a city with about 1 million residents, lies at the heart of Silicon Valley, a global center of technological innovation and home of some of America’s biggest tech companies and concentration of wealth.
Mass shootings are common in the United States, which has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world. Efforts to ratify the second amendment right to bear arms or to increase rules surrounding gun acquisition continue to be a source of heated debate.
Welcome to a brave new America…