A gunman fired shots at a railyard in San Jose, California, leaving 9 workers dead. Police spokesman Russel Davis confirmed the incident and said the shooter, an employee of the Valley Transportation Authority, was now dead. Mayor Sam Liccardo confirmed the shooter’s familiarity with the victims of the San Jose shooting. He has been identified as Sam Cassidy.
According to Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, the victims worked together at the VTA and were there at the time of the San Jose shooting. Davis said police officers weren’t involved in the gunfire exchange and investigators believe he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Although the motive for the shooting remains unconfirmed, a news outlet in Northern California suggested Cassidy had a dual personality. Cecilia Nelms, his ex-wife confirmed his behavior in a conversation with the Bay Area News Group: “When he was in a good mood, he was a great guy. When he was mad, he was mad.” Cassidy often remained angry and many times, the resentment towards his job and co-employees was directed to her, confirmed Nelms.
Nelms stated Cassidy’s problem with what he saw as “unfair work assignments” at his job. More often than not, he would “rant about his job when he got home.” News channel CNN tried contacting Nelms on Facebook for comments about Cassidy, but their efforts went in vain as she did not respond. She had been married to Cassidy for a decade until the couple parted ways in 2005.
Santa Clara District Attorney Jeff Rosen said he wasn’t aware of any other additional red flags about Cassidy’s behavior. In addition, a house in the vicinity caught fire at the same time as the San Jose shooting. The house is suspected to be the gunman’s place of living, suggested a source in the investigation. “That is certainly the information that I have — is that there was a fire at the shooter’s home, there was nobody found inside the home, thank God,” reported Mayor Liccardo.
Firefighters responded to the news of the fire at 6.36 am local time, as suggested by a series of tweets by the San Jose Fire Department. It took the firefighters an hour or so to extinguish the deadly fire, which destroyed the home. An investigation is still underway to conclude the cause of the fire that erupted inside the alleged home of the suspect.
The San Jose shooting began in the early hours of the morning, around 6.30 am. The gunman opened fire in the VTA rail yard, a place where all VTA vehicles are maintained. A public transit service that controls bus and light rail services in Santa Clara Valley, the VTA was closed for the rest of the day as the active crime scene investigation hampered their ability to operate efficiently.
Sudden and tragic, the San Jose shooting has triggered a wave of fear amongst employees and their families. Billy Cantillas, an employee of the VTA for 22 years, was informed of the shooter by a coworker, so he left the building immediately. He didn’t hear or witness the scene unfold, but was still petrified. “I’m scared, you know? I’m thinking about the people that got shot. It’s terrible,” stated a shaken Cantillas.
The San Jose shooting is the 232nd incident where at least four people were shot in the U.S this year. In a public statement, President Joe Biden sent his condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. He also urged Congress to act on gun law reform, and put an end to these gun killings, once and for all.