An employee opened fire at a light-rail facility in San Jose, California, killing nine people and wounding several others, authorities said Wednesday. The suspect was identified as 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy, two law enforcement sources told CBS News.
Authorities initially said eight victims had died but later said a ninth had succumbed to his injuries.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office received multiple 911 calls about shots fired at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority around 6:34 a.m. local time. Employees of the facility were evacuated from the building, which operates as a transit control center.
The victims were shot in two separate buildings and officials were working to quickly identify them and notify their families, Sheriff Laurie Smith said in a news conference Wednesday. Smith and officials praised first responders who rushed to the shooting scene.
Deputies did not exchange gunfire with the suspect and investigators believe he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to Deputy Russell Davis, a sheriff's department spokesperson.
Davis said a bomb-sniffing dog detected explosive material at the crime scene, forcing officials to send a bomb squad to investigate "every crevice" of the facility. "They have to go through every room and every building to ensure that everything is safe," he said.
Cindy Chavez, a county supervisor, called the employees of the facility heroes of the coronavirus pandemic. "The buses never stopped running. VTA never stopped running. They kept at work and we are calling on them to be heroes a second time to survive such a terrible tragedy."
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who serves on the VTA board, applauded first responders at the scene and expressed condolences to the families of the victims. "This is a very dark moment for our city and for our community but we have already seen how people are pulling together in this very, very tough time."
Suspect's neighbor described him as "mean" and untalkative
A neighbor of the suspected gunman described him to CBS San Francisco as "mean" and untalkative. Doug Suh, the neighbor, said he and his wife would try to avoid interactions with the man, citing a time when he allegedly yelled at a neighbor for backing into his driveway to make a turn.
Two law enforcement officials told CBS News that investigators have identified 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy as the suspect. Authorities have not publicly confirmed the name.
Biden releases statement on shooting: "There are at least eight families who will never be whole again"
President Biden said Wednesday night that he and Vice President Harris have been briefed on the "horrific tragedy" that occured in San Jose.
"We are still awaiting many of the details of this latest mass shooting, but there are some things we know for sure," the president said. "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."
"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," Mr. Biden added. "Enough."
California governor on mass shootings in America: "What the hell is wrong with us?"
California Governor Gavin Newsom addressed the "numbness" felt after another mass shooting that has occurred in his state. "There's a sameness to this," Newsom said Wednesday. "This happens over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat."
Newsom canceled a scheduled news conference where he was to make a "huge announcement" regarding COVID-19 vaccinations today, so he could meet with local officials as well as the victims' families.
"It's time to deal with the endemic, before this pandemic, of gun violence," the governor said. "The pre-existing condition that somehow was sort of pushed aside last year, but now has raised its ugly head again this year and wake up to this reality and take a little damn responsibility."
As of May 24, there have been 232 mass shootings in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit research group that tracks gun violence.
"What the hell is going on in the United States of America?" Newsom asked. "What the hell is wrong with us and when are we going to come to grips with this and put down our arms literally and figuratively?"
Deputies "immediately responded" to shooting reports and "rescued victims"
Deputies "immediately responded" to reports of multiple shots fired this morning at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, which is located next door to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, officials said.
"They really went into the scene and rendered first-aid and rescued victims out of the building as fast as they could to figure out what was going on," Deputy Russell Davis, a sheriff's department spokesperson, said at a news conference.
An active shooter protocol was activated, triggering the response of multiple law enforcement agencies in surrounding counties as well as multiple fire departments, he said.
"I really want to commend the law enforcement in Santa Clara County," Sheriff Laurie Smith said. "There were victims shot in two separate buildings but they responded the way that they should."
Santa Clara is the most populated county in the Bay Area, with more than a million residents. It is the 10th-largest city in the U.S. and is located approximately 50 miles south of San Francisco.
Gunman died of apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound
Investigators believe the suspected gunman died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said Wednesday. Deputies did not exchange gunfire with the suspect who opened fire at the light-rail facility in San Jose, according to Deputy Russell Davis, a spokesperson with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
"At this point, we have investigators on scene and we're interviewing anyone on scene to find out what exactly happened," Davis said in a news conference.
Investigators have identified the suspect as 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy, two law enforcement sources told CBS News. Authorities have not publicly named the suspect.
San Jose shooting suspect identified
Investigators have identified the deceased shooting suspect as Samuel Cassidy, 57, of San Jose, California, two law enforcement sources told CBS News. Investigators have not yet determined a motive.
White House responds to the shooting: "Our hearts go out to the victims and their families"
President Biden's principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday that the White House is monitoring the shooting, and that "our hearts go out to the victims and their families."
"We still don't know all the details, but what is clear is [as] the president has said, is we are suffering from an epidemic of gun violence in this country," Jean-Pierre added.
Vice President Kamala Harris also commented on the shooting: "The facts are still revealing themselves but it is absolutely tragic. It's absolutely tragic. I have family that lives in San Jose. I've worked for many many years with the mayor of San Jose and the police department and my prayers and my thoughts for all those families."
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg tweeted that "My heart breaks for the families and colleagues of those lost in today's shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority light rail operations facility."
"Transit workers have kept the traveling public safe this past year—we must do the same for them," Buttigieg added.
Bomb squad searches facility for explosives
A bomb squad is working to determine if there were explosive devices inside the facility where the shooting took place, according to Deputy Russell Davis, a spokesperson for the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.
"We are trying to clear out every room and every crevice of that building," Davis said in a news conference Wednesday.
8 killed in shooting
Eight victims and one suspect have officially been pronounced dead in the Wednesday morning shooting, Deputy Russell Davis said at a press conference.
The suspect has been confirmed as an employee at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
"This is still a fluid and ongoing investigation," Davis said.
The San Jose Fire Department is also investigating a fire at a residential structure that occurred around the same time as the shooting.
Mayor: One victim died on the way to hospital
In an interview with CBS San Francisco, San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo said "today is a day to mourn." He said one victim transported to the hospital died on the way to the facility.
CBS San Francisco reported the victim who died is one of two they reported earlier had been transported to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. The station reports the victim was pronounced dead at the hospital, and the other victim that was transported is in critical condition.
Liccardo said "doctors are working very hard to save lives." He also praised the response by the sheriff's department, which responded immediately and worked to ensure there would be no further loss of life.
He said investigators are speaking with employees and working to determine what the shooter's motive might have been.
"A terrible tragedy": Officials vow to support victims' families, co-workers
At an emotional press conference, VTA board chairman Glenn Hendricks and San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo pledged to support the loved ones and co-workers of victims.
Hendricks described the transportation agency as a "family" and said employees there "know everyone."
"This is a terrible tragedy and we will do everything we can to help people get through this," Hendricks said.
He choked up when he described seeing VTA buses continuing to operate despite the tragedy, saying he was incredibly proud of the workers.
Hendricks said the shooting happened in the rail yard, where the agency conducts maintenance on trains. It did not happen in the operations center building, which is also onsite, he said.
Mayor Sam Liccardo, who also serves on the VTA board, called it a "tragic day."
"Our heart pains for the families and the co-workers, because we know so many are feeling deeply this loss of their loved ones and friends," Liccardo said.
Two injured victims transported to the hospital
CBS San Francisco reports two injured victims have been transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. It's not clear whether there were more more injured victims transported to other facilities.
"In the VTA family, we mourn our lost coworkers and pray for the recovery of those being treated," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a tweet.
San Jose Police Chief Anthony Mata also tweeted the department's "sincerest condolences and prayers to the victims' families and our communities during this tragic incident. Thank you to all the brave and courageous first responders."
The department earlier tweeted that the Santa Clara Sheriff's Office would be heading up the investigation, though multiple San Jose police officers were seen responding to the scene. The FBI is also responding.