Police secure the scene of a mass shooting at a rail yard in San Jose, California, the US, May 26 2021. Picture: REUTERS/PETER DASILVA
Police secure the scene of a mass shooting at a rail yard in San Jose, California, the US, May 26 2021. Picture: REUTERS/PETER DASILVA

New York — At least eight people were killed when a transit employee opened fire at a light rail yard in San Jose, California, on Wednesday morning, the county sheriff's office said.

Santa Clara county sheriff's deputy Russell Davis said at a news conference the gunman was also dead. The gunman was a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) employee, he said.

Davis said he could not say how the gunman died or whether police officers fired their weapons at the scene.

The shooting took place just before 7am at a light rail yard run by the VTA near the city's main airport. A bomb squad was searching the yard after “at least one” explosive device was found, Davis said.

“A horrible tragedy has happened today and our thoughts and love go out to the VTA family,” Glenn Hendricks, the chair of the VTA board, said at the news conference.

He said the shooting took place in a part of the yard where workers do maintenance on vehicles, and was not in the yard's operations and control centre.

San Jose, a city with about 1-million residents, lies at the heart of Silicon Valley, a global centre of technological innovation and home of some of the US’s biggest tech companies.

“We are in a very dark moment,” San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo said at the news conference. “We will do everything possible to ensure this never happens again in our city.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had agents assisting at the crime scene.

Mass shootings are common in the US, which has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world.

President Joe Biden has declared: “This has to end. It’s a national embarrassment,” before calling on Congress to ban assault weapons and large-capacity ammunition magazines.

In April, five people were hospitalised after being shot and injured in Shreveport, Louisiana and three people died in a shooting at an apartment complex in Austin, Texas.

In March, eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were shot dead in a string of attacks at day spas in and around Atlanta, and less than a week later, 10 people were killed at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.

Reuters 

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