San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantú urged prayers for the victims and their families after a gunman opened fired on Wednesday morning at a rail yard operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, or VTA, north of downtown San Jose.
Eight people were shot dead at the scene by the gunman, later identified by law enforcement as VTA employee Samuel Cassidy, 57. A ninth person was critically injured and taken to a local hospital, where he died that evening.
“May God comfort their families and loved ones and bring healing,” the bishop tweeted. “Pray also for all the first responders and law enforcement officers. May shock & grief give way to healing and grace, as we work together to protect the innocent and prevent such senseless acts in the future, so that peace may prevail in our hearts and communities.”
The gunman also died at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, sheriff’s officials confirmed later.
“This is a horrific day for our city, and it’s a tragic day for the VTA family,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “Our heart pains for the families and the co-workers because we know that so many are feeling deeply this loss of their loved ones and their friends.”
NBC-TV Bay Area reported that at about 6:35am, San Jose police received multiple 911 calls about gunfire at the VTA yard, and dozens of San Jose police and Santa Clara County sheriff’s vehicles responded to the scene.
Sheriff’s officials confirmed at about 8:10am that the shooter was dead, and late in the afternoon confirmed he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Several law enforcement agencies also went to Cassidy’s home in San Jose to conduct a search. A fire had been set at the home early in the morning, but whether it was set before the shooting was being investigated, according to NBC-TV. Technicians with the San Jose Police Department’s bomb squad were searching the suspect’s home as well as the VTA building at the rail yard.
There was no information yet on Cassidy’s motive, police said.
Photo: Police secure the scene of a mass shooting on Wednesday, at a rail yard run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, California. (CNS photo/Peter DaSilva, Reuters)