On Saturday, Nov. 16 at approximately 4:19 p.m., Santa Clara Police Dispatchers received multiple 911 calls of a young boy running on the train tracks near Lafayette Street south of Laurelwood Road. Our Public Safety Dispatchers immediately notified Union Pacific Railroad to halt all train services in the area, but not in time to prevent a northbound Amtrak train from hitting the boy as he ran southbound on the tracks. Upon arrival, the responding officers found the child to have been killed.
The tracks are owned by Union Pacific Railroad and the Union Pacific Police Department is separately investigating the accident. The Santa Clara Police Department has been investigating how the boy got onto the tracks — Case Number: 19-1116130.
The boy, who has since been identified by the Santa Clara County Coroner as Leonardo Gianni Shiyanga-Ommani, was 5 years old. He had been playing in his parents fenced in backyard with both his parents in the house at the time. Our investigation revealed that he had apparently removed a couple of fence boards and made his way out of the yard onto the tracks without his parents’ knowledge. Based upon the timelines, it appears that he was gone only minutes before he was spotted near the tracks by the first 911 caller. The parents, who have indicated that the boy had special needs, have fully cooperated with the police investigation.
The City of Santa Clara considers this to be a tragic accident that has deeply affected the family, witnesses, first responders and train personnel. We call upon the wider Bay Area community to extend its sympathy and comfort to all those who have been affected.