Workplace mass shootings are rare, but the killing of nine people by a fellow employee at a San Jose rail yard on Wednesday marks the third such rampage in under two months.
That could foreshadow a rise in this type of violence after the nationwide shutdown of businesses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, says Jaclyn Schildkraut, associate professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York at Oswego.
However, Schildkraut stresses that while such shootings "are increasing incrementally in frequency, they're still extremely statistically rare."
On Wednesday, authorities say, a public transit employee opened fire on co-workers at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, killing eight people and injuring others before taking his own life. A ninth victim who had been wounded and hospitalized in critical condition after the attack died late Wednesday. The suspect, who reportedly killed himself following the attack, was identified in multiple reports as a 57-year-old VTA employee. A motive is still unknown.
The attack comes on the heels of a similar shooting in Indianapolis on April 15 in which a former FedEx worker also killed eight people before killing himself. That was reported to be the deadliest workplace massacre since a brewery employee gunned down five people at the Molson Coors campus in Milwaukee in February 2020, shortly before the pandemic shutdown.