FBI investigation at VTA rail yard to continue through holiday weekend

FBI agents from Quantico, Va., and Santa Clara County sheriff’s investigators continued their search Saturday for evidence at the Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose.

While investigators continued piecing together clues about Wednesday's mass shooting - the deadliest mass shooting in Bay Area history - VTA employees are finding ways to cope with the grief caused by the tragic loss of nine co-workers.

VTA light rail operators and mechanics met Friday to express emotions in an open forum meeting at their union’s headquarters in Campbell. More than three dozen employees participated. 

"Today we just opened up. We wanted them to express their feelings. Talk to us. Talk amongst one another. Be supportive of one another," said Walter Hale, a VTA manager.

Surveillance video from the light rail yard showed suspected gunman Sam Cassidy walking between building’s A & B.

"He did go into Building B, where we understand he normally works and has a locker. And from there, the incident took place shortly afterwards," said Det. Sgt. Joe Piazza, with the sheriff’s office’s investigative services division.

Detectives said Cassidy killed co-workers in both buildings before taking his own life as deputies and police officers approached.

"We have a tendency to dismiss things that are right in front of us, thinking, ‘it wouldn’t really come to that,’" said Dr. Charles Morgan III, a forensic psychiatrist at the Univ. of New Haven.

Morgan says cases of extreme workplace violence aren’t rare, and usually happen after a build-up of anger and frustration.

A published report says in 2016, Homeland Security agents found journals where Cassidy expressed hatred for VTA and his fellow employees. And a Bay Area broadcast news report claimed the 57-year-old faced a so-called "Skelly" hearing, a precursor to disciplinary action, the day of the attack.

VTA officials denied this, and said there was no disciplinary hearing scheduled for Cassidy May 26, or any other upcoming or prior date.

Experts say working with troubled employees early on can lower the level of anger and resentment toward co-workers and the employment site itself.

"I do see this as preventative, and protective. To approach the situation and do an earlier intervention," said Morgan.

Union leaders say VTA workers died somewhere they should have felt safe

As a tragic week in the Bay Area drew to a close, VTA employees said they will dispatch teams to visit the nine families who lost a loved one in Wednesday’s mass shooting.

Remembering the San Jose VTA shooting victims

"We wanted to reach out to the families of our fallen brothers and pay our condolences to them. and let them know that we’re there for them," said Hale.

Sheriff’s investigators say they will continue collecting evidence at the VTA light rail yard site through the Memorial Day holiday weekend.