The Valley Transportation Authority employee who killed eight people at a San Jose rail yard before taking his own life Wednesday morning has been identified by multiple sources as 57-year-old Sam Cassidy. Sources tell NBC that Cassidy was a substation maintainer. Records show he made more than $114,000 in 2019. The motive for the massacre, one of the Bay Area's worst-ever mass shootings, remains unknown, reports the San Jose Mercury News. Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith says shots were still being fired as deputies entered the building but the gunman killed himself when he saw a deputy. " He knew at that time that his time for firing shots was over," Smith said, per the AP.
The bomb squad was also at Cassidy's home, which he apparently set on fire before leaving for the VTA building. The victims are believed to include numerous VTA employees, the New York Times reports. VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress says the rail yard would have been busy at 6:45am, when she first received reports of an active shooter situation. "It is where we have dispatchers and maintenance," she says. "They get up early and they are there." Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the scene Wednesday afternoon. "There’s a sameness to this, and a numbness I think is something we’re all feeling," he said. "It begs the damn question, 'what the hell is going on in the United States of America?'" In a tweet, President Biden said, "Every life taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We must do more." (Read more mass shootings stories.)