Peer Support Teams Deployed After San Jose Mass Shooting

June 2 • 2021

In the aftermath of the May 26 mass shooting at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail facility in San Jose, California, that killed nine VTA employees, the IAFF is providing peer support teams to meet with San Jose, CA Local 230 and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265 members.

“This IAFF will always stand in support of its union brothers and sisters,” says General President Ed Kelly. “Due to the extreme nature of this incident, we are making make peer support resources available to our San Jose members, as well as the members of ATU Local 265.”

In the early hours of May 26, San Jose Local 230 members responded to a fire at the home of Samuel Cassidy, an employee at the light rail facility. Investigators now believe Cassidy set the fire himself. Meanwhile, investigators say Cassidy began shooting 6:30 a.m. inside the light rail facility buildings. Local 230 members responded to the facility as part of a tactical rescue crew that went in with police to provide medical treatment to shooting victims.

“Responding to both the house fire and the shooting, our members did their job well,” says 10th District Vice President Steve Gilman, who traveled to San Jose following the incident to assess membership needs and offer support to ATU Local 265.

“Vice President Steve Gilman was on the ground immediately, making sure the IAFF is doing everything possible to support our San Jose members and the members of ATU Local 265 during this difficult time,” says General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma.

“I am proud of our members and their dedication to professionalism and duty as they responded to the fire and the active shooter incident,” says Local 230 President Matt Tuttle. “Thankfully, our members were able to call on the tactical training with police to respond to this incident safely.”

Gilroy, CA Local 2805 President Steven Hayes – whose members had responded to the Garlic Festival shooting in 2019 – joined Gilman to give ATU members information on peer support services.

Tuttle has requested that peer support counselors be available to assist beginning on May 31 when Local 230 members who responded to the shooting are on shift again. The IAFF will be on the ground to provide assistance for as long as needed.