An employee this morning opened fire on an VTA yard on West Younger Avenue, killing eight people. The suspect was also deceased, authorities said.
The VTA light rail service was closed for the remainder of the day.
Santa Clara County Sheriff’s spokesperson Russell Davis said the suspect was a VTA employee. VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress said in a written statement at 11:51 a.m. eight people are believed to have died.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said it was “undetermined” how the shooter died.
Filming took place around 6:30 a.m. at the VTA Guadalupe streetcar facility next to the Sheriff’s Department and across Highway 880 from the San Jose Airport. The facility is a transit control center that stores trains and has a maintenance yard.
Davis did not know the type of weapon being used or whether the shots were indoors or outdoors. He said the victims included VTA employees. The authorities did not release any of the names of the victims.
“These people were heroes during Covid 19. The buses never stopped running. VTA has not stopped working. They just kept working, and now we really call them to be heroes a second time to survive a terrible, terrible tragedy, ”Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
Police vehicles and an orange crime scene tape blocked off the area where the shooting took place, and reporters were kept at bay The rail yard is in the city’s administrative district, near the sheriff’s office and city and county offices.
Bomb squads were searching the railway complex after receiving reports of possible explosive devices inside the building, Davis said.
The VTA trains were already running in the morning when the shooting took place.
The tram service was to be suspended at noon and replaced with bus bridges, agency president Glenn Hendricks said at a press conference.
“It’s just really hard for everyone to be able to try to figure out what happened,” said Hendricks.
Two patients were rushed to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, according to spokesperson Joy Alexiou. One person was pronounced dead on arrival and the other was in critical condition.
Offstage, Michael Hawkins told the Mercury News he was expecting his mother, Rochelle Hawkins, who called him from a co-worker’s phone to assure her she was safe.
When the shooting started, “she got down with the rest of her colleagues” and dropped her cell phone, Michael Hawkins told the newspaper. Rochelle Hawkins didn’t see the shooter and she wasn’t sure how close he was to the forward, her son said.
The attack was the county’s second shootout in less than two years. A gunman killed three people before committing suicide at a popular garlic festival in Gilroy in July 2019.
At a press conference, the mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo, lamented the “horrible day for our city”.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a tweet that his office was “in close contact with local law enforcement and monitoring this situation closely.” Newsom is on his way to a press conference scheduled for 1:30 p.m. in the County Building at 70 W. Hedding Ave.
FBI and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents responded to the crime scene, officials said. – From staff and son reports