San Jose Shooting Live Updates: Gavin Newsom Calls for Gun Reform After 8 Killed at VTA Light Rail Yard

Live Updates

The Santa Clara Sheriff's Office has confirmed an individual opened fire at the Valley Transit Authority (VTA) Light Rail Yard in San Jose, California, killing eight people before ending his own life on Wednesday.

The suspected shooter was identified as 57-year-old VTA employee Sam Cassidy, two law enforcement officials told the Associated Press.

Santa Clara Sheriff's Office Press Information Officer Russell Davis confirmed during a press conference that it's expected additional VTA employees will be among the injured and the deceased, though official confirmation has not been made at this time.

Initial reports of an active shooter near the rail yard came in after 7 a.m. local time when the Santa Clara Sheriff's Office tweeted they were "on scene for an active shooter investigation" and asked the public to avoid the area.

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.

— SantaClaraCoSheriff (@SCCoSheriff) May 26, 2021

VTA spokesperson Brandi Childress later confirmed the active shooter situation to KGO-TV in San Francisco. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also wrote on Twitter that "several people [are] being treated" for injuries.

Liccardo said the facility has been evacuated.

VTA Chairman Glenn Hendricks announced that as of noon local time on Wednesday, the VTA Light Rail service would be suspended following the shooting.

"Additional bus bridges will be put in place so that we can continue to provide service to our county residents," Hendricks said during a press conference.

The VTA provides bus, light rail and other transit services, and is in charge of congestion management and specific highway improvement projects throughout Santa Clara County.

Liccardo also sent his condolences to the families and co-workers of those affected by the shooting.

This is a breaking news report, it will be updated as more information is available.

San Jose VTA Shooting Patrol
SAN JOSE, CA - MAY 26: Tactical law enforcement officers move through the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light-rail yard where a mass shooting occurred on May 26, 2021 in San Jose, California. A VTA employee opened fire at the yard, with preliminary reports indicating nine people dead including the gunman. Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

Victims named

Police announced the names of the eight victims of Wednesday's shooting after the families had been notified.

The victims are:

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

One of the victims of Wednesday's shooting was identified, according to KTXL-TV.

Lars Lane, 64, was one of the people killed in the San Jose shooting on Wednesday, his family confirmed to KTXL-TV. They described him as a husband, father, grandfather and brother.

White House orders flags flown at half-mast

The White House issued a proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-mast until Sunday in honor of the victims of Wednesday's shooting in San Jose.

"As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on May 26, 2021, in San Jose, California, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, May 30, 2021," the White House statement read.

"I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations," it continued.

On Wednesday, K-9 teams found explosives left at the San Jose light-rail station that was the site of a mass shooting that day.

A robot has been sent in to investigate if the explosives are active and if there are additional explosives, according to CNN.

A house fire was also set at the suspect's home around the same time as the shooting, the network reported.

Court records show that Sam Cassidy, the suspect of Wednesday's shooting, was accused of rape in 2009 by his ex-girlfriend.

The unnamed 45-year-old woman filed the additional information as part of a filing for a domestic violence restraining order, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, which obtained the records. In the filing, she said Cassidy had bipolar disorder which led to mood swings, exacerbated by large amounts of alcohol.

Cassidy also allegedly raped the woman several times and also repeatedly attempted to force anal sex on her.

"He also played several mind games which he seems to enjoy," she said.

In addition to the sexual assaults, she alleged that Cassidy would steal tools and equipment from work.

President Joe Biden released a statement about the San Jose shooting Wednesday.

"We are still awaiting many of the details of this latest mass shooting, but there are some things we know for sure. There are at least eight families who will never be whole again. There are children, parents, and spouses who are waiting to hear whether someone they love is ever going to come home. There are union brothers and sisters – good, honest, hardworking people – who are mourning their own," Biden said.

"I have the solemn duty of yet again of ordering the flag to be lowered at half-staff, just weeks after doing so following the mass shootings at spas in and around Atlanta; in a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado; at a home in Rock Hill, South Carolina; and at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana," he continued.

"Enough," he said. "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."

"Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We can, and we must, do more," Biden closed. "God bless all those whose lives were lost today, and all those who loved them."

California Governor Gavin Newsom responded to the shooting at the VTA Light Rail Yard facility in San Jose that left nine dead during a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

Newsom thanked the police officers and first responders that responded to the shooting and said, "There's a numbness I imagine some of us are feeling about this, because there's a sameness to this. Anywhere, USA."

"It just feels like this happens over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat," Newsom said. "Here we are, in the United States of America where we're experiencing something that's just not experienced anywhere else in the world. There's a sameness to this and that numbness is something that I think we're all feeling."

Newsom also stated that the shooting "begs the damn question: what the hell is going on in the United States of America?"

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on San Jose shooting: "There's a numbness I imagine some of us are feeling about this, because there's a sameness to this. Anywhere, USA. It just feels like this happens over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat." pic.twitter.com/ggkaJugHAk

— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 26, 2021

Newsom later tweeted a call for nationwide gun reform through the passing of "commonsense gun laws."

We need to deal with the pandemic before this pandemic—gun violence.

Tomorrow the news may move on—but the labor community & loved ones of the 8 victims of today’s shooting won’t.

Time to move past the stale rhetoric of thoughts & prayers & pass commonsense gun laws NATIONWIDE.

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 26, 2021
Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a press conference at The Unity Council on May 10, 2021 in Oakland, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty

Vice President Kamala Harris responded to the shooting in San Jose, California on Wednesday that left nine dead, including eight victims.

"The facts are still revealing themselves but it is absolutely tragic, it's absolutely tragic," Harris said when asked for comment by CBS News reporter Tim Perry. "I have family that lives in San Jose, I've worked for many, many years with the mayor of San Jose and that police department and my prayers and my thoughts are with all of those families."

NEW: @VP Kamala Harris makes first comments on today’s shooting in San Jose, CA. Harris called the shooting, “absolutely tragic.” pic.twitter.com/bDqNRtzdle

— Tim Perry (@tperry518) May 26, 2021

Authorities identified 57-year-old Sam Cassidy as the suspected shooter, according to the Associated Press.

Kamala Harris
US Vice President Kamala Harris meets with a bipartisan group of Members of Congress to discuss broadband infrastructure in Washington, DC, on May 26, 2021 Nicholas Kamm/Getty

Authorities confirmed to the Associated Press that the suspected shooter in the VTA Light Rail Yard shooting in San Jose, California, was identified as 57-year-old Sam Cassidy.

Law enforcement officials told the AP Cassidy took his own life after fatally shooting eight others at the VTA Light Rail Yard facility.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff's office previously confirmed that the shooter was a male employee at the VTA facility.

Police have yet to confirm the identities of those killed or injured in the shooting.

San Jose VTA Shooting Workers Rail
Valley Transportation Authority workers cross Younger Avenue near the scene of a mass shooting in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, May 26. 2021. Gunfire erupted Wednesday at a railyard in San Jose, and a sheriff's spokesman said multiple people were killed and wounded and that the suspect was dead. Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group via A

Santa Clara Sheriff's Office public information officer Russell Davis said on Wednesday that police have received information regarding explosive devices in the VTA building where the shooting incident took place in San Jose, California on Wednesday.

During a press conference, Davis said that the sheriff's office bomb squad unit has been activated and is currently investigating the building.

"In regard with the bomb information, the suspicious devices. We're using all the resources that we can from using our robots, x-ray devices," Davis said.

California Shooting
Emergency responders gather at the scene of a shooting where nine people were reported dead including the shooter on May 26, 2021 at the San Jose Railyard in San Jose, California. - Multiple people were killed in a shooting Wednesday at a rail yard in California's Bay Area, police said, the latest instance of deadly gun violence in the United States. Amy Osborne/Getty

Santa Clara Sheriff's Office public information officer Russell Davis confirmed on Wednesday that nine people died following the shooting incident at the VTA Light Rail Yard facility in San Jose, California.

During a press conference, Davis stated that eight victims were confirmed deceased. The suspected shooter was also pronounced deceased at the scene.

Davis could not confirm the number of those injured during the shooting but said that some of the victims sustained "major" injuries.

Police have yet to identify the suspected shooter but Davis confirmed that the individual was a male VTA employee.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed on Wednesday that President Joe Biden has been briefed on the recent shooting incident at the VTA Light Rail Yard in San Jose, California.

"What's clear is that we are suffering from an epidemic of gun violence in this country," Jean-Pierre said during a press conference.

Jean-Pierre added that Biden has continued to urge Congress to "take action" in order to strengthen gun background checks.

Joe Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden walks toward members of the press to answer questions before departing from the White House on May 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty

David Chipman, President Joe Biden's nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said Wednesday that if confirmed he would focus ATF's efforts on "gun trafficking."

California Senator Dianne Feinstein used some of her time in questioning Chipman as to what steps he would take as ATF director to minimize gun violence in the U.S.

Chipman said he would focus the agency's efforts on "gun trafficking" if confirmed for the position, and then offered his condolences to those impacted by the VTA Light Rail Yard shooting in San Jose.

Dianne Feinstein
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, speaks during the Senate Appropriations Committee in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on April 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Oliver Contreras/Getty

"If I'm confirmed as ATF director, one of our priorities at ATF will be focusing on gun trafficking, the unlawful transfer of legal guns to criminals. And perhaps in this case, a crime like this could be prevented," Chipman said. "As ATF tries to solve crimes, we will have to strive just as hard to prevent them from ever happening in the first place."

Feinstein, California's senior senator, also offered her thoughts and prayers to the victims involved in the shooting. She said she was informed of the shooting while attending the hearing on Chipman's nomination.

As I was about to speak with President Biden’s nominee to lead the ATF, David Chipman, I received word of a shooting taking place in San Jose. My thoughts are with everyone affected. Watch my conversation with Mr. Chipman on how we can work to end the gun violence epidemic: pic.twitter.com/GDuW38Ey8l

— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 26, 2021

Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Chairman Glenn Hendricks announced on Wednesday that as of noon, local time, VTA Light Rail service will be suspended following the mass shooting at the VTA Light Rail Yard in San Jose, California.

During a press conference, Hendricks said that "additional bus bridges will be put in place so that we can continue to provide service to our county residents."

"We're so sorry that this event happened," Hendricks said, adding that VTA is in the process of getting grief counselors for those impacted by the shooting.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also spoke during the press conference and called the incident a "horrific day for your city and a tragic day for our VTA family."

"Our heart pains for the families and the co-workers," Liccardo said. "Now is a moment for us to collect ourselves, to understand what happened, to mourn and to help those who have suffered, to heal. That will be my intention today and for the foreseeable future."

The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in San Jose announced on Wednesday that the family reunification center for families following the reports of a shooting at the VTA Light Rail Yard facility will be held at the County Building located at 70 W. Hedding Ave.

"CORRECTION: Reunification center for employees and families being established at County Building @ 70 W. Hedding in the Isaac Newton room. Grief counselors will be on site," VTA wrote in a tweet.

"Asking for patience and prayers while @SCCoSheriff determines number of victims and who the suspect was, now confirmed deceased. Families seeking information can go to the County building at 70 W. Hedding," VTA wrote in a subsequent tweet.

Asking for patience and prayers while @SCCoSheriff determines number of victims and who the suspect was, now confirmed deceased. Families seeking information can go to the County building at 70 W. Hedding.

— VTA (@VTA) May 26, 2021

Several elected officials have issued statements following the reports of a shooting incident near a VTA Light Rail Yard in San Jose, California on Wednesday.

California Reps. Jimmy Panetta and John Garamendi both said that they are praying for the victims in the shooting.

"Absolutely tragic news out of San Jose this morning. Patti and I are sending our deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones. Our hearts are with everyone impacted by this horrible and senseless tragedy," Garamendi wrote in a tweet.

Absolutely tragic news out of San Jose this morning. Patti and I are sending our deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones. Our hearts are with everyone impacted by this horrible and senseless tragedy. https://t.co/m3StFdAePg

— John Garamendi (@RepGaramendi) May 26, 2021

Panetta said that "heart is with our neighbors in San Jose and the families of those lost today," but added that, "Thoughts and prayers alone are not enough."

"While we in the House have passed legislation to prevent gun violence, we must keep fighting until it becomes law," Panetta's tweet said.

My heart is with our neighbors in San Jose and the families of those lost today.

Thoughts and prayers alone are not enough. While we in the House have passed legislation to prevent gun violence, we must keep fighting until it becomes law.https://t.co/a5swsRu2jo

— Rep. Jimmy Panetta (@RepJimmyPanetta) May 26, 2021

Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter and New York Rep. Adriano Espaillat also issued similar responses on Twitter.

"My heart breaks for the families of those lost and everyone affected by this horrific tragedy in San Jose," Espaillat wrote in the tweet. "Thoughts and prayers aren't enough. How many more Americans need to die before Congress takes action?"

My heart breaks for the families of those lost and everyone affected by this horrific tragedy in San Jose.

Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough. How many more Americans need to die before Congress takes action?

Abolish the filibuster so we can end this pandemic of gun violence. https://t.co/cjBXiH3K3n

— Adriano Espaillat (@RepEspaillat) May 26, 2021

Perlmutter called the incident "painful" and praised law enforcement officers for their efforts in responding to the incident.

"A painful morning as we learn of another incident of gun violence that has resulted in the loss of life and injuries. Thank you to the law enforcement officials responding to the scene," Perlmutter wrote.

A painful morning as we learn of another incident of gun violence that has resulted in the loss of life and injuries. Thank you to the law enforcement officials responding to the scene. https://t.co/AIQ6FxqUiI

— Rep. Ed Perlmutter (@RepPerlmutter) May 26, 2021

California Rep. Zoe Lofgren said on Wednesday that she is following the shooting incident at the VTA Light Rail Yard in San Jose and called on residents to avoid the area.

"I am following the tragic shooting at the VTA yard in San Jose & urge everyone to avoid the area, as requested by the @SCCoSheriff," Lofgren, who represents San Jose County wrote in a tweet. "The family reunification center is located at 55 W. Younger Ave, San Jose. Please provide any info you have to the Sheriff's Office."

I am following the tragic shooting at the VTA yard in San Jose & urge everyone to avoid the area, as requested by the @SCCoSheriff. The family reunification center is located at 55 W. Younger Ave, San Jose. Please provide any info you have to the Sheriff's Office.

— Rep. Zoe Lofgren (@RepZoeLofgren) May 26, 2021
Zoe Lofgren
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) wears a protective mask while walking through the Canon Tunnel to the U.S. Capitol on January 12, 2021 in Washington, DC. Stefani Reynolds/Getty

California Senator Alex Padilla issued a similar response to the shooting on Wednesday.

"My team and I are continuing to monitor this tragic news. My thoughts are with the entire San Jose community on this dark morning," Padilla wrote in a tweet.

My team and I are continuing to monitor this tragic news. My thoughts are with the entire San Jose community on this dark morning. https://t.co/L5h0yullFK

— Senator Alex Padilla (@SenAlexPadilla) May 26, 2021

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office public information officer Russell Davis said there are "multiple victims and multiple casualties," reported in the shooting incident at the VTA Light Rail Yard in San Jose, California.

While Davis was unable to confirm the exact number of casualties and injuries, he said the shooting suspect "is confirmed deceased." Davis did not provide details on the suspect's cause of death.

Davis also said that it is believed the victims in the shooting are VTA employees. He did not specify if the victims were those deceased, those injured, or both.

Santa Clara County Deputy Davis confirms there are “multiple injuries and multiple fatalities” in today's mass shooting in San Jose, CA. pic.twitter.com/6E8OGKcANE

— The Recount (@therecount) May 26, 2021

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that the state was working in conjunction with local law enforcement following the reports of an active shooter near the VTA Light Rail Yard in Santa Jose.

"We are in close contact with local law enforcement and monitoring this situation closely," Newsom wrote in a tweet.

We are in close contact with local law enforcement and monitoring this situation closely. https://t.co/t6yBNmy3iH

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 26, 2021
Gavin Newsom
California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a press conference at The Unity Council on May 10, 2021 in Oakland, California Justin Sullivan/Getty

While police have yet to confirm the identity of the shooter, VTA Light Yard spokesperson Brandi Childress told KGO-TV in California that the VTA facility is not open to the public and suggested that the individual may have broken into the facility or used employee access to gain entry.

"We ask for people's prayers," Childress said while speaking with KGO-TV.

In an update posted to Twitter at around 11:08 a.m. ET. the Santa Clara County Sheriff's office confirmed that the shooter is "down."

The update from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office comes shortly after they reported that there was an active shooter at the VTA Light Yard facility "in the area of 100 W. Younger Ave."

Police have yet to confirm the number of fatalities and injuries that occurred during the active shooting incident.

In a tweet on Wednesday, San Jose, California Mayor Sam Liccardo confirmed that the shooting occurred at the VTA Light Yard facility and said that "several people [are] being treated," for injuries.

"A shooting at the VTA facility on Younger St has left several people being treated, but the situation is still being assessed," Liccardo wrote in the tweet. "The shooter is no longer a threat, and the facility has been evacuated. I will update as more information becomes available."

VTA spokesperson Brandi Childress confirmed to KGO-TV in San Francisco that there was an active shooter at the VTA Light Yard. Childress told KGO-TV that she believes the situation is contained but she could not confirm the number of individuals injured during the shooting incident.