'Lonely and strange': Disturbing details after eight killed in mass shooting

·3-min read

More details are emerging after a transport worker killed eight people in a mass shooting in California.

A gunman opened fire at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) train yard in the US city of San Jose on Wednesday morning (local time), Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Russell Davis said.

The gunman also died but police did not say whether officers shot him.

The attacker was identified as 57-year-old Sam Cassidy, according to two law enforcement officials. Investigators offered no immediate word on a possible motive.

Samuel Cassidy, 57, is pictured.
Samuel Cassidy, 57, has been named as the gunman. Source: VTA

He was an employee of the VTA.

Deputy Davis said he did not know the type of weapon used in the attack. Bomb squads were searching the rail complex after receiving information about possible explosive devices, he said.

Authorities did not identify any of the victims, who included VTA employees.

Cassidy’s dad James told The Daily Beast his son seemed “completely himself” in the days leading up to the shooting.

“He didn’t talk about his job or politics. I just found out he was dead and his house on fire and all that a minute ago,” he said.

Tactical law enforcement officers move through the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light-rail yard where a mass shooting occurred in San Jose, California.
Police in riot gear move through the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light-rail yard. Source: Getty Images

Fire at gunman's home

Authorities are now investigating a fire at Cassidy’s property which occurred at the same time as the shooting.

Fire crews found a fast-moving blaze after being notified by a passer-by. A neighbouring house also caught fire, authorities said.

Doug Suh, who lives across the street from Cassidy, told The Mercury News in San Jose the suspected shooter was “lonely” and “strange”, and he never saw anyone visit.

“I’d say hello, and he’d just look at me without saying anything,” Mr Suh said.

Once, Cassidy yelled at him to stay away as he was backing up his car.

“After that, I never talked to him again,” he said.

Cassidy had worked for VTA since at least 2012, according to the public payroll and pension database known as Transparent California.

A man cries while sitting on the sidewalk on North First Street near the scene of a shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority's (VTA) light-rail facility in San Jose, California.
A man cries near the scene. Source: Getty Images

His position from 2012 to 2014 was listed as a mechanic. After that, he maintained substations, the records said.

Trains were already out on morning runs when the shooting occurred. Light rail service was suspended and replaced with bus bridges, agency Chairman Glenn Hendricks told reporters.

Governor Gavin Newsom, speaking emotionally in front of a county office where flags flew at half-staff, said victims' relatives were "waiting to hear from the coroner, waiting to hear from any of us, just desperate to find out if their brother, their son, their dad, their mom is still alive".

with The Associated Press

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