This week a tragedy befell Northern California when a gunman went on a mass shooting and murdered eight people. The shooter also took his life after going on a rampage at the light rail yard.
On Wednesday morning, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard in San Jose, California, had a worker who went on a killing spree, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office.
The VTA employee opened fire at the scene and killed eight co-workers before dying from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. The victims have since been identified.
Cautionary black-and-yellow tape | Photo: Pixabay/Alexandr Podvalny
On Wednesday night, the Santa Clara County coroner's office released the names and ages of the victims: Lars Kepler Lane, 63, Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, Timothy Michael Romo, 49, and Paul Delacruz Megia, 42.
The other victims were Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40, Taptejdeep Singh, 36, Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35, and Adrian Balleza, 29. One victim was in critical condition when he was transported.
The person was taken to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, according to its spokesperson Joy Alexiou. Sadly, Alex Ward Fritch, 49, passed away at the hospital from his injuries.
According to San Jose police, more than 40 employees were at the VTA at the time of the shooting. Russell Davis, a police spokesman, said they were still trying to figure out what happened, including the motive.
Authorities haven’t named the suspect yet; however, law enforcement sources said the gunman was Samuel Cassidy, 57. He had been licensed with the Bureau of Automotive Repair since 2003.
A vigil was planned for Thursday at 6 p.m. local time at the city hall.
The sheriff's department is right next door to the VTA's light rail yard. The close proximity allowed deputies to run in while shots were being fired, and their quick action saved many more lives.
Cassidy worked as a smog check repair technician and previously worked in the city for a car dealership. Mayor Sam Liccardo said their hearts were in pain for the co-workers and the families, noting about the incident:
"This is a horrific day for our city and tragic day for the VTA family.”
On Wednesday afternoon, flags were flown at half-staff, and local officials set up a fundraiser for the victims and their families. A vigil was planned for Thursday at 6 p.m. local time at the city hall.
A database that tracks all the mass killings over the last 15 years revealed that San Jose was the 15th mass killing so far in 2021. The stats were compiled by The Associated Press, Northeastern University, and USA Today.
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