By Holly Matkin and Christopher Berg
San Jose, CA – Nine people were murdered in an active shooter incident Wednesday, and President Joe Biden has responded by calling for immediate action on gun control.
“We are still awaiting many of the details of this latest mass shooting, but there are some things we know for sure,” President Biden’s statement said. “There are at least eight families who will never be whole again. There are children, parents, and spouses who are waiting to hear whether someone they love is ever going to come home. There are union brothers and sisters — good, honest, hardworking people — who are mourning their own.”
“Once again, I urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners, to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America,” the statement added.
Other politicians quickly joined in calling for gun control.
We are still awaiting many of the details of this latest mass shooting in San Jose, but there are some things we know for sure. There are at least eight families who will never be whole again. Every life taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation.— President Biden (@POTUS) May 26, 2021
We must do more.
We need to deal with the pandemic before this pandemic—gun violence.— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) May 26, 2021
Tomorrow the news may move on—but the labor community & loved ones of the 8 victims of today’s shooting won’t.
Time to move past the stale rhetoric of thoughts & prayers & pass commonsense gun laws NATIONWIDE.
While the President and I await additional details on the latest mass shooting in San Jose, we know that eight, innocent victims were taken from us. And we grieve with their loved ones.— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 26, 2021
The epidemic of gun violence in America must end. Congress must act.
As we monitor devastating reports of another mass shooting in San Jose, my heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) May 26, 2021
How much longer will we force every American to live in fear they'll be gunned down at work, at school, at the store?
It doesn't have to be this way.
I’m heartbroken by today’s shooting in San Jose.— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) May 26, 2021
Enough is enough. We must stand together to break this cycle of suffering.
This Senate will move forward on gun safety legislation to help end the gun violence epidemic in America.
The shooting occurred Wednesday morning when a gunman opened fire at a Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) control center.
“The victims are VTA employees,” Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Public Information Officer Deputy Russell Davis told reporters during a brief press conference on Wednesday morning.
“The numbers can change,” Deputy Davis cautioned, noting that the investigation is still “fluid and ongoing.”
Investigators received information that there may be explosive devices inside the building and are actively working to “clear out every room and every crevice” to ensure first responders’ safety on the scene, Deputy Davis said.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said explosive-detecting K-9s alerted on the possible explosives.
The attack occurred at the VTA control center yard located at 101 West Younger Avenue, Deputy Davis said.
Approximately 80 VTA employees were at the facility for a union meeting when the attack occurred, San Jose City Councilman Raul Peralez told KABC.
The Santa Clara County Communication Center received multiple 911 calls about shots being fired at the facility beginning at 6:34 a.m., Deputy Davis said.
Multiple law enforcement jurisdictions responded to the scene for what Deputy Davis described as an “active shooter” incident.
“Deputies responded and learned there were multiple victims who were shot,” Deputy Davis told reporters.
He said the sheriff’s office initiated its “active shooter protocol” and worked to extract victims from the scene.
Deputy Davis said he did not have information regarding whether or not any law enforcement officers fired their duty weapons during their response to the attack.
“The suspect is confirmed deceased,” he said. “The suspect is a VTA employee.”
Breaking news:— Lucia Koonze (@LuciaCabrera99) May 26, 2021
9 people total where killed, including the Gunman in the shooting this morning in San Jose CA, at a VTA yard center. There are no reports of how many where injured at the moment.
Officials say that the Gunman was an employee of the VTA Yard center. pic.twitter.com/KU2rORm8E8
The gunman was identified as a 57-year-old employee.
Police said a fire was ignited at the alleged shooter’s home prior to the attack at the VTA, KABC reported.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who also serves on the VTA board, told reporters on Wednesday morning that the house fire is connected to the mass shooting.
Deputy Davis did not comment on any potential connection between the fire and the mass shooting.
VTA Chairman Glenn Hendricks said the light rail service will be suspended beginning at noon.
Buses will be in place to help bridge the service gap.
“We’re so sorry this event happened,” Hendricks said, breaking into tears. “This is a terrible tragedy and we’ll do everything we can to help people to get through this.”
DEVELOPING STORY: Police say there are multiple fatalities and injuries after a shooting at a light rail facility in San Jose, CA on Wednesday. The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office confirms the shooter is among the dead. pic.twitter.com/e4HeNPto2P— WJZ | CBS Baltimore (@wjz) May 26, 2021
“This is a horrific day for our city and it’s a tragic day for the VTA family,” Liccardo told reporters.
The mayor said he is grateful for “the immediate response of law enforcement.”
“We want to ensure we do everything possible to make sure this never happens again in our city,” he added.
The mayor said that within the next 48 hours, the city will unveil a plan “to make sure another tragedy like this never happens again in San Jose.”
The plan has been in the works for the past 18 months, Liccardo said.
“Our hearts are pained for the families of those we have lost in this horrific shooting. The shooter is deceased, and more information will be provided at 9:30am,” Liccardo tweeted. “The Sheriff’s Office has set up a reunification center for families at the County Building at 70 Hedding St., near 1st Street. In the @VTA family, we mourn our lost coworkers and pray for the recovery of those being treated.”
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff in honor of the eight victims killed in the mass shooting.