Eight killed in rail yard shooting in San Jose, California

Flags once again ordered at half mast across America after yet another massacre

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

Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Russell Davis said the gunman, a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) employee, was also dead.

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

President Joe Biden called the shooting a "tragedy" and once again called on Congress to take action to curtail the nation's gun violence crisis.

"There are at least eight families who will never be whole again," Mr Biden said.

"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."

Mr Biden ordered US flags to be set at half-mast again, after four other mass shootings led him to do the same.

"Enough," he said.

"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," he added.

The shooting took place just before 7am local time at a light rail yard run by the VTA near the city's main airport. A bomb squad was searching the yard after "at least one" explosive device was found, Mr Davis said.

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

He said the shooting took place in a part of the yard where workers do maintenance on vehicles.

San Jose, a city of about one million residents, lies at the heart of Silicon Valley, a global centre of technological innovation and home to some of the biggest tech companies in the US.

"We are in a very dark moment," San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. "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.

Mass shootings are common in the US, 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.

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