SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Santa Clara County Sheriff Transit Deputies arrested a man who made threats of gun violence at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Chaboya Division Yard in San Jose on Friday, according to a press release. A local union member says this was a result of VTA’s vaccination requirements.

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At around 7:50 a.m. Friday morning SCCS Transit Deputies were dispatched to the VTA Chaboya Division Yard due to threats of gun violence which were made by an employee, according the press release. Deputies were able to contact the person who made the reports and that witness confirmed that a male VTA employee made threats of gun violence while other employees were in the yard.

Deputies were able to arrest the employee at the scene. He was then transported to Santa Clara County Main Jail on charges of criminal threats (Penal Code 422). He was later identified by police as Douglas Lofstrom,

The Sherriff’s Office and VTA have previously carried out training and awareness programs to lessen work-violence related incidents. They credit their training programs, “Run, Hide, Defend” and “See Something, Say Something” for being most effective in preventing gun violence tragedies.

This arrest after threats of violence is eerily similar to the story surrounding the VTA yard shooting that took place in May 2021, when a VTA employee took the lives of nine people. The South Bay recently honored the lives lost that day with a candlelight vigil.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, the VTA said it is grateful for their employee’s quick reporting of the threatening behavior:

VTA has zero tolerance for this type of threatening behavior and will continue to treat any similar incident with an urgent response.  Trauma counselors were immediately dispatched to the Chaboya Bus Division where the threat took place, and counselors are available to employees throughout the agency.

Valley Transportation Authority

According to John Courtney, a VTA employee and President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local #265 (ATU Local 265), Lofstram was facing pressures from the VTA to get vaccinated, and his mental health could not take it anymore. “The culture of VTA played into what happened. Nothing has changed in a year … we’ve been telling them it’s not a vaccination crisis now, it’s a mental health crisis,” Courtney told KRON4.

Courtney says that he and the union fully support the swift actions of the VTA in arresting this individual for his threats, “We don’t condone threats,” but he feels the pressure put on Lofstrom by the VTA contributed to this incident. “Because of what happened last year, the entire agency is in a mental health crisis. We have warned and discussed with VTA with no avail what we think the threat of termination does,” Courtney said.

This is an active investigation and anyone with information on this case is encouraged to reach out to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office at 408-808-4500. If you would prefer to provide a tip anonymously, please contact the Sheriff’s Office Investigative Services anonymous tip line at 408-808-4431.