‘Shots were still being fired’: Sheriff describes confronting San Jose VTA shooter

California

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — The Santa Clara County sheriff revealed several new details to KRON4 early Thursday morning on the San Jose Valley Transportation Authority rail yard mass shooting.

Nine people were killed by an employee on Wednesday.

“Shots were still being fired when our team, when San Jose police entered,” Sheriff Laurie Smith told KRON4. “Within a matter of minutes, our deputies confronted the suspect.”

That’s when 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy turned the gun on himself, taking his own life, she said. He was found with two semi-automatic handguns.

She describes the tactic that responding authorities used, with police and deputies taking on the shooter as firefighters went into the rail yard on a rescue mission.

“We treated this as an active shooter but also a rescue operation, that’s why we were able to get two people to the hospital,” Smith said. “Fire goes into the war zone even though the suspect was still shooting so we could try to save people.”

Officials found bomb-making materials in his work locker during the investigation. Smith also has a theory that Cassidy had a device on him that started a fire at his home, “almost simultaneously” as the shooting.

A fire erupted at his house on Angmar Court, with the call coming in at 6:37 a.m. Reports of the shooting started arriving at 6:34 a.m., she said.

The San Jose Police Department is actively investigating the house fire while the sheriff’s office is working on the VTA crime scene. But they are coordinating their efforts, she added.

“He’s a coward, he took a cowardly act,” Smith said.

As they try to nail down a motive, she said she does not know that anything would ever justify it.

A member of the sheriff’s office staff was directly impacted by the shooting, Smith added, with their nephew being one of the victims.

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