US: ‘Multiple casualties’ after mass shooting in San Jose

Authorities in the US state of California say multiple people have been killed and others injured in a mass shooting at a train yard in San Jose.

The shooting happened at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) early on Wednesday morning.

The rail yard is located next door to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.

“We have multiple victims and we have multiple casualties at this point,” Sheriff’s Deputy Russell Davis told reporters, adding that there are “several people being treated”.

He said the alleged attacker was confirmed dead, but that he could not go into further details.

Davis added that investigators were on the scene “trying to figure out exactly what happened”.

A mother of a VTA employee told television station KTVU that her son said the shooting occurred during a union meeting, though authorities have not confirmed that report.

Davis said the first calls of the shooting came in at 6:34am local time (13:34 GMT).

“A shooting at the VTA facility on Younger St has left several people being treated, but the situation is still being assessed,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo tweeted shortly after 8am (15:00 GMT).

“The shooter is no longer a threat, and the facility has been evacuated.”

“We are in a very dark moment,” Liccardo said. “We will do everything possible to ensure this never happens again in our city.”

Glenn Hendricks, the chairman of the VTA board of directors, explained that the shooting happened in the light rail maintenance yard, where vehicles are repaired and dispatched, not inside the train system’s operations control center.

The city of San Jose, which has a population of just over 1 million, is located about 77 km (48 miles) southeast of San Francisco and is in the heart of Silicon Valley. The region is a major technology hub and home to Apple, Facebook and Google, among many other tech companies.

Mass shootings becoming common in US

Wednesday’s mass shooting is the latest in what has become a common occurrence in the United States.

Just this past weekend, at least 12 were killed in mass shootings across the country.

Over the course of four weeks in March and April, the US saw three such shootings that involved mass casualties: On March 16, eight were killed, including six women of Asian descent, at Atlanta-area spas; less than a week later, 10 died at a supermarket shooting in Colorado and a few weeks after that, eight were killed at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis.

Nearly 40,000 Americans die each year from guns, with half of that total being suicides. US legislators regularly promise, but continually fail, to pass meaningful gun law reforms.

In recent years, Democrats have called for universal background checks, which are broadly popular among Americans, as well as a ban on military-style “assault” weapons, however, conservatives are steadfastly against strict, new gun control measures.

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

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