Multiple fatalities in California light rail yard shooting

Police secure the scene at the light rail yard.
Police secure the scene at the light rail yard. Photo credit: Reuters.

A gunman opened fire at a light rail yard in San Jose, California, on Wednesday morning, killing an unspecified number of people and injuring others, the county sheriff’s office said.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Russell Davis told reporters that "there are multiple injuries and multiple fatalities" and the assailant was dead.

"I can't confirm the exact number of injuries and fatalities," he said.

Davissaid at a later news conference he could not identify the gunman beyond saying he was male, nor could he say how he died or whether police officers fired their weapons at the scene.

The shooting took place just before 7 a.m. Pacific Time (1400 GMT) at a light rail yard run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) near the city's main airport.

"A horrible tragedy has happened today and our thoughts and love go out to the VTA family," Glenn Hendricks, the chairman of the VTA board, said at the news conference.

He said the shooting took place in a part of the yard where workers do maintenance on vehicles, and was not in the yard's operations and control center.

San Jose, a city with about 1 million residents, lies at the heart of Silicon Valley, a global center of technological innovation and home of some of America's biggest tech companies.

"We are in a very dark moment," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said at the news conference. "We will do everything possible to ensure this never happens again in our city."

Mass shootings are common in the United States, which has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in the world.

In March, eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were shot dead in a string of attacks at day spas in and around Atlanta, and less than a week later, 10 people were killed at a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado.

A local ABC News affiliate reported that the building was not open to the public, so the assailant would have needed employee access or to have broken in. News footage of the yard showed a cluster of industrial hangar-like buildings adjacent to rail tracks.