Nine people have been killed in a shooting at a light rail yard in San Jose, California, including the suspect, police say.
At a press conference on Wednesday, officials said eight victims had been killed in the incident, along with the shooter at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard.
At least some of the victims, as well as the suspect, were VTA employees, Santa Clara County sheriff”s spokesman Deputy Russell Davis said.
A number of others were also injured in the shooting.
The incident unfolded at around 6.30 am at the light rail facility – a transit control centre storing trains – just next door to the sheriff’s department.
Officials said a bomb squad had been deployed to the VTA building over concerns over potential explosive devices inside.
‘Heroes during COVID-19’
Speaking at the press conference, Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said VTA workers have been “heroes during COVID-19”.
“The buses never stopped running, VTA didn’t stop running,” Chavez said. “They just kept at work, and now we’re really calling on them to be heroes a second time to survive such a terrible, terrible tragedy.”
VTA Chairman Glenn Hendricks also spoke, calling the incident a “horrible tragedy” as he said his “thoughts and love go out to the VTA family”.
He said resources were being made available to support VTA members affected by the incident.
In the wake of the incident, officials said light rail service would be suspended and replaced with bus bridges.
In a statement published on Twitter, San Jose’s mayor Sam Liccardo also offered his condolences, writing: “Our hearts are pained for the families of those we have lost in this horrific shooting.”
‘Epidemic of gun violence’
Meanwhile, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House was “monitoring the situation and our hearts go out to the victims and their families”.
Jean-Pierre said that “what’s clear, as [President Joe Biden] has said, is that we are suffering from an epidemic of gun violence in this country, both in mass shootings and in the lives that are being taken in daily gun violence that doesn’t make national headlines.”
“That’s why he has already taken an initial set of actions on gun violence that will save lives,” the spokesperson said. “And that’s why he’s he’s calling on Congress to take action, including calling on the Senate to pass the three bills to strengthen background checks that have already cleared the House with bipartisan support and which have the overwhelming backing of the American people.”