SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - Investigators are releasing more details about a local boy fatally struck by an Amtrak train over the weekend.
On Tuesday Santa Clara County officials identified the 5-year-old boy as Leonardo Shiyanga-Omani, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Santa Clara Police Department said dispatchers received reports of a child running on the tracks near Lafayette Street south of Laurelwood Road.
Police said dispatchers immediately notified Union Pacific and asked them to stop all train service in the area, but it was too late.
Police believe Leonardo was playing in his parents' back yard when he apparently removed a couple of boards in the fence that surrounded the yard. The boy left the yard and got onto the tracks without his parents' knowledge.
The boy's parents were inside the home at the time he was struck. He was alone on the tracks when he was struck.
Santa Clara police said it appears the boy was gone only a few minutes before someone saw him near the tracks. The boy's parents have cooperated in the police investigation and told officers their son had special needs.
Santa Clara police investigators said the fatal collision happened near Lafayette Street and the Highway 101 underpass as the freeway runs below the tracks.
“A lot of us have kids. And this is something that really has a pit in our stomach,” said Capt. Wahid Kazem, a spokesman for the Santa Clara Police Department.
He said around 4:20 p.m. his department started receiving calls about a small boy, unsupervised, near the tracks. Then, a 911 call saying a northbound Amtrak train hit the child. First responders arrived and found the boy injured.
“The collision appears to be an accident. Whether there’s any other negligence involved, again, is the subject of our investigation,“ said Kazem.
Area residents were shocked by the death.
“Yeah, it doesn't make no sense why a kid that young is running around here, all alone,” said area neighbor Kenneth Masoner.
Investigators and residents said, although there are incidents of adults being hit by trains, they can’t remember the last time such a young child was hit, if ever.
“I ain’t never seen no children out here by themselves. You rarely see teenagers. You know, you don’t see teenagers. It’s pretty much a business district around here,” said Masoner.
Union Pacific police are investigating the crash. Santa Clara police are looking into how the boy got on the tracks.
Bay City News reporters Keith Burbank and Kyle Martin contributed to this report.