9 Victims Killed At San Jose Rail Yard In Country's Latest Mass Shooting
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
California Governor Gavin Newsom spoke yesterday near the rail yard where a gunman opened fire.
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GAVIN NEWSOM: Looking at this scene, seeing governors, mayors, chiefs speaking similar tone and terms, expression of condolences, all the right emotions and, perhaps, the right words. But it begs the damn question - what the hell is going on in the United States of America?
INSKEEP: Because this news seems so repetitive. Yesterday, a gunman killed nine people and then himself. Adhiti Bandlamudi of member station KQED is in San Jose. Good morning.
ADHITI BANDLAMUDI, BYLINE: Morning.
INSKEEP: Let's begin with the gunman. What little is known about him?
BANDLAMUDI: Well, we know that he was a transit employee. But we don't know his direct relationship to the victims who were also transit workers. And authorities haven't released his name. They're also not saying anything about a motive at this time. But that is certainly part of the ongoing investigation. And along with local sheriff's deputies and the San Jose police working on the case, there are also a lot of federal agencies involved, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Department of Homeland Security. They're all just working on the investigation together and trying to sort through the evidence.
INSKEEP: OK. So he's a transit employee. And he goes to - what kind of a facility is this?
BANDLAMUDI: Well, this is basically the valley transit authority center. It's a train depot where, you know, all of the light rail cars are stored. And we know that this happened in the morning around a shift change, when overnight and daytime workers are present at the site. The trains are starting to come out on their morning shifts. And, you know, County Sheriff Laurie Smith said when the deputies entered the scene, it's a very large facility. And when the gunman caught sight of them, he took his own life. And later, a bomb-sniffing dog was on the scene and detected some explosive material. So they sent in a bomb squad. And because the scene is just so large, they're still assessing the scene to make sure that it's clear of explosives.
INSKEEP: So all of this happened essentially as the transit system was firing up for the morning rush, I guess. What, if anything, is known about the victims?
BANDLAMUDI: Well, the office of the medical examiner did release the names of the victims last night. They range in age from 29 years old to 63. And we're also learning this morning that another victim who was transported to the hospital in critical condition has died. One of them was an overhead line worker, another a light rail operator. One was a light rail foreman. And another was a substation manager. And a local nonprofit has set up a victims' fund to support those who were severely injured and the families of the people who were killed. And the county is also offering grief and trauma counseling to transit employees and anyone affected by the shooting, like family members.
INSKEEP: You said another victim transported to the hospital has died. So the death toll is still nine plus the shooter? Or is it up to 10?
BANDLAMUDI: It's 10 including the shooter.
INSKEEP: Ten including the shooter. Thank you. So what are the next steps in this investigation?
BANDLAMUDI: Well, the county is still working with the bomb squad to secure the transit area and make sure there are no explosives there. And they say that could take up to a week since this facility is a very, very large one. It's a train yard where light rail cars are stored and maintenance is done. So the transit authority has actually suspended light rail services for a few days while they just comb through this - the crime scene.
They're also trying to piece together what happened earlier that day. There was a residential fire and another fire that firefighters were attending to around the time of the shooting. And since the incidents happened in a short time span of each other, they're trying to figure out whether they're all related. The FBI says they're flying in help from Quantico and getting forensics teams to help out with the investigation just to process the crime scene and the evidence.
INSKEEP: Adhiti Bandlamudi of KQED. Thanks so much.
BANDLAMUDI: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.