Eight killed in shooting at California railyard

27 May 2021, 05:56

Police responded to the shooting before the gunman took his own life
Police responded to the shooting before the gunman took his own life. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Eight people have been killed in a shooting at a California railyard by an employee who took his own life as police responded.

The gunman, identified as Sam Cassidy, 57, killed fellow workers at the Valley Transportation Authority facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He began shooting at about 6.30am on Wednesday at the light rail site.

"When our deputies went through the door, initially he was still firing rounds," Santa Clara County sheriff Laurie Smith said.

"When our deputy saw him, he took his life. (Deputies) were going through hallways saying, 'Sheriff's office!' He knew at that time that his time for firing shots was over."

Bomb squads searched the site, which is used to provide bus and light rail services in Santa Clara County, after being told about possible explosive devices.

It has not been confirmed what weapon Cassidy used.

His victims were Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.

Their roles included bus and light rail operators, mechanics, linemen and an assistant superintendent.

Another man was wounded in the attack, and was in a a critical condition in hospital.

No motive has been given for the attack yet
No motive has been given for the attack yet. Picture: PA
Eight people were killed by a gunman
Eight people were killed by a gunman. Picture: PA

Investigators have not suggested a motive for Cassidy's attack. He was employed by the Valley Transportation Authority from at least 2012, initially as a mechanic and later in maintaining substations.

His ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, told The Associated Press he had a bad temper and would say he wanted to kill people at work "but I never believed him, and it never happened, until now".

Cassidy would come home angry at work and would "get more mad" as he spoke, and she was scared when he lost his temper, she said.

The couple began divorce proceedings in 2005, and they had not spoken for 13 years.

Union staff had been meeting around the time of the attack but it is unclear if that was related to the shooting.

Investigators are also looking into a fire that broke out at a two-story home Cassidy owned before the assault.

President Joe Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-mast and he urged Congress to pass laws to limit gun violence.

"Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We can, and we must, do more," he said.