/Multiple people dead, injured in mass shooting at San Jose VTA light rail yard – The Mercury News

Multiple people dead, injured in mass shooting at San Jose VTA light rail yard – The Mercury News

SAN JOSE — Nine people are dead and others injured in a mass shooting early Wednesday morning at a Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard building near the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, according to authorities that also left the gunman dead.

Sheriff Laurie Smith said deputies entered the building as shots were still being fired.

“We have some very brave officers and deputies,” Smith said

Explosive devices also were reported in the building, and bomb dogs alerted to the devices, Smith said

About 100 VTA workers, mostly men and some family members, were escorted from the Sheriff’s Office to a larger auditorium across the street in the county administration. They were told not to talk to news reporters, but one worker in a VTA uniform said he was shaken to the core.

“The whole crew is gone, the whole shift is gone,” he said, declining to say how many people that included. “It’s horrible.”

Governor Gavin Newsom said in a Tweet that his office was “in close contact with local law enforcement and monitoring this situation closely.”

Police officers wait near the intersection of West Hedding and San Pedro streets at the scene of a mass shooting in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. (Randy Vazquez/Bay Area News Group) 

The reported shooting occurred in the area of the 100 block of W. Younger Avenue and San Pedro Street, according to Twitter messages from San Jose police and the Santa Clara sheriff’s office. The first reports of the shooting came around 6:34 a.m.

According to Davis, some of the shooting victims are VTA employees. KTVU reported that it spoke to the mother of an employee who reported that the shooting happened at a union meeting. It was not known immediately if the shooting happened inside or outside, Davis said.

The VTA provides bus, light rail, and paratransit services and is a funding partner in regional rail service including Caltrain, Capital Corridor, and the Altamont Corridor Express. The mass shooting occurred in the VTA maintenance yard, where vehicles are dispatched — not in the organization’s operations center, according to the board chair. The VTA will suspend its light rail service at noon today, but continue bus service.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said on Twitter just after 8 a.m. that several people were being treated. Liccardo also said the “shooter is no longer a threat” and that the facility was evacuated. Liccardo
said later that the city is in a “very dark moment,” but that he is “heartened by the response of the
VTA family to come together and help their coworkers.”

Two male shooting victims were transferred to Valley Medical Center in San Jose, one person was dead on arrival and another is in critical condition, Valley Medical spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said. There were no further details on their condition.

“We’d be the closest to get he most seriously injured patients,” Alexiou said. “People with lesser injuries can be transferred to other hospitals.”

Michael Hawkins, 19, stood behind the yellow police tape, hoping to see his mom, Rochelle Hawkins. She had called her son earlier Wednesday from a coworker’s phone to say she was alright.

“She got down with the rest of her coworkers,” when the shooting began and dropped her phone, he said. She didn’t see the shooter, he said, and was uncertain how close she may have been to the tragedy. “She was terrified.”

The shooting happened during the busiest time of day at the maintenance facility, when operators and maintenance workers are getting ready for the start of the day’s service, according to Raj Singh, the recording and financial secretary for Amalgamated Transit Union local 265, which represents VTA operators.

Singh said the shooting had not happened at an official ATU union meeting, as those meetings are held at the union hall in Campbell. He said he’s received calls from members expressing shock and from family members unable to get in touch with their loved ones.

“This is unspeakable,” he said. “You hear about it happening somewhere else and you think never here.”

Light rail service initially continued but VTA later announce the trains would stop running at noon.

Authorities were asking people to stay away from the area of E. Taylor Street, W. Hedding Street and E. Mission Street. They were holding a staging area for families who may have relatives at 70 Hedding Street in the area at the sheriff’s office headquarters, which are next door to the VTA light rail yard.

No other information was available immediately.

Please check back for updates.

Staff writers Nico Savidge, Maggie Angst, Aldo Toledo and Kate Selig contributed to this story.

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