SAN JOSE, Calif. — Flags were flying at half-staff above the White House Wednesday and officials across California spoke out on the deadly mass shooting in San Jose, from an emotional Gov. Gavin Newsom to San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.
Authorities say a 57-year-old Valley Transportation Authority worker opened fire on other employees at a rail yard around 6:30 a.m., killing eight people and then ending his own life.
Newsom had reached the city by afternoon, meeting with first responders and some of the victims’ families as the investigation wore on. When he stepped up to address reporters during a news conference, he held little back.
“It begs the damn question, what the hell is going on in the United States of America? What the hell is wrong with us?” Newsom said, speaking of the “numbness” he has begun to associate with the discourse surrounding mass killings in the country.
“When are we going to come to grips with this?” he continued. “When are we going to put down our arms — literally and figuratively — our politics, stale rhetoric, finger-pointing, all the hand-wringing and consternation that produces nothing except more fury and frustration, more scenes like this, repeated over and over and over again.
“I say that, not as a governor. I just say that as a father of four.”
On Twitter, he added: “We need to deal with the pandemic before this pandemic—gun violence. Tomorrow the news may move on—but the labor community & loved ones of the 8 victims of today’s shooting won’t. Time to move past the stale rhetoric of thoughts & prayers & pass commonsense gun laws NATIONWIDE.”
President Joe Biden issued a statement Wednesday as well, calling the shooting a “horrific tragedy.”
“We are still awaiting many of the details of this latest mass shooting, but there are some things we know for sure. There are at least eight families who will never be whole again. 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,” he wrote.
“I have the solemn duty of yet again of ordering the flag to be lowered at half-staff.”
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria shared his condolences for the victims and their families and sent the region’s support to “our sister California city.”
“I’ve reached out to Mayor Liccardo to offer San Diego’s support and solidarity,” he wrote, in part. “Let’s keep the victims, their families and all first responders in our prayers.”
Liccardo gave updates on the shooting throughout the morning and said there will be a vigil held at San Jose City Hall Thursday evening.
“Our hearts are pained for the families of those we have lost in this horrific shooting,” he wrote on Twitter.
View other reaction from California leaders and organizations in the posts below: