Police at scene of mass shooting
Police secure the scene of the mass shooting at a rail yard run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose. REUTERS/Peter DaSilva

At least eight people were killed when a transit employee opened fire at a trolley yard in San Jose on Wednesday morning, the county sheriff’s office said.

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy Russell Davis said at a news conference the gunman was also dead. The gunman was a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority employee, he said.

Davis said he could not say how the gunman died or whether police officers fired their weapons at the scene.

The shooting took place just before 7 a.m. at a light rail yard run by the VTA near the city’s international airport. A bomb squad was searching the yard after “at least one” explosive device was found, Davis said.

“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 trolleys, 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.”

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had agents assisting at the crime scene.

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.