News Headlines 5/27/21

EIGHT KILLED IN SHOOTING AT CALIFORNIA RAIL YARD: Eight people were killed in a shooting at a light rail yard for the Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, California, Wednesday morning by an employee who killed himself as police rushed into the facility in response to the 6:30 a.m. PT attack. The gunman was identified as 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy. Those killed included bus and light rail operators, mechanics, linemen and an assistant superintendent. Officials didn’t immediately offer a motive. A fire also broke out shortly before the shooting at a house that the Associated Press says public records show Cassidy owned.

His ex-wife told AP he used to come home from work resentful and angry over what he saw as unfair assignments. Cecilia Nelms also said he talked about killing people at work more than a decade ago, saying, “I never believed him, and it never happened. Until now.” The two divorced in 2005. An ex-girlfriend described Cassidy as being violent and having mood swings because of bipolar disorder that became worse when he drank heavily. In a 2009 sworn statement after Cassidy sought a restraining order against her, she said that he had sexually forced himself on her several times while drunk. A neighbor of Cassidy, Doug Suh, told The Mercury News that he seemed “strange.”

Governor Gavin Newsom spoke emotionally at the scene, saying, “There’s a numbness some of us are feeling about this. There’s a sameness to this. It begs the damn question of what the hell is going on in the United States of America?” President Biden ordered flags to be flown at half-staff and called for Congress to pass legislation to combat gun violence, saying in a statement, “We can, and we must, do more.”

BIDEN ORDERS INTEL OFFICIALS TO ‘REDOUBLE’ EFFORTS TO FIND COVID-19 ORIGINS: President Biden yesterday (May 26th) ordered U.S. intelligence officials to, quote, “redouble” their efforts to find the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic and report back within 90 days. There has been growing consideration of the possibility that the virus may have been escaped from a Chinese lab and not arisen naturally through human contact with an infected animal, and China is facing mounting global pressure to be more transparent about how the pandemic began. Biden called on China to cooperate  with international investigations.

MOTHER OF CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER WHO DIED AFTER JANUARY 6TH URGES COMMISSION TO BE CREATED: The mother of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who collapsed and later died after the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, yesterday (May 26th) urged that an independent commission be approved to investigate what happened. Senate Republicans are poised to use the filibuster to block the legislation to create the bipartisan commission, which was approved in the House, where 35 Republicans joined with all the Democrats in passing it. Gladys Sicknick said in a statement, “I suggest that all Congressmen and Senators who are against this Bill visit my son’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery and, while there, think about what their hurtful decisions will do to those officers who will be there for them going forward. Putting politics aside, wouldn’t they want to know the truth of what happened on January 6?” Sicknick also said she would meet with lawmakers ahead of the vote to try to convince them to act. Ten Senate Republicans would need to join with the Democrats in the evenly-divided Senate to overcome a filibuster.

THREE ARRESTED IN ITALIAN CABLE CAR CRASH THAT KILLED 14: Three people were arrested by police in Italy yesterday (May 26th) in Sunday’s disaster in which 14 people were killed when a cable car crashed to the ground on Mount Mottarone in northern Italy. Only one small boy survived and is hospitalized with multiple fractures. Police said workers put a clamp on the cable car’s emergency brake to deactivate it and it prevented the emergency brake from engaging when the car’s lead cable snapped. The workers admitted to putting a clamp on the brake to deactivate because it kept engaging spontaneously, preventing the cable car system from working. It’s still not clear why the car’s cable snapped.