SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — An employee opened fire Wednesday at a VTA rail yard in San Jose, killing nine people before ending his own life, authorities said.
The shooting took place around 6:30 a.m. in two buildings that are part of a light rail facility for the VTA. The facility in San Jose includes a transit-control center, parking for trains, and a maintenance yard.
KRON4 sources have identified the gunman as 57-year-old Sam Cassidy, a VTA worker. At this time, there is no information on a possible motive.
He said the victims included VTA employees.
Santa Clara County released the identities of the eight victims killed:
- Paul Delacruz Megia, age 42
- Taptejdeep Singh, age 36
- Adrian Balleza, age 29
- Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, age 35
- Timothy Michael Romo, age 49
- Michael Joseph Rudometkin, age 40
- Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, age 63
- Lars Kepler Lane, age 63
- Alex Ward Fritch, age 49
County officials say that the victim’s next of kin have been notified.
Lars Lane’s family confirmed to KRON4’s sister station KTXL that he had been killed. Lane was a father, husband, grandfather, and brother.
Michael Rudometkin was identified by San Jose City Councilmember Raul Peralez who posted to Facebook sharing that his friend had passed away.
He wrote, “My family and I have lost a long time great friend and there are no words to describe the heartache we are feeling right now, especially for his family.”
Taptejdeep Singh’s family had also confirmed to KRON4 that the 36-year-old was among the victims killed.
Two patients were transported to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, according to spokesperson Joy Alexiou. One person was pronounced dead upon arrival, another died later that night.
“Our hearts are pained for the families of those we have lost in this horrific shooting,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said on Twitter.
“These folks were heroes during COVID 19, the buses never stopped running, VTA didn’t stop running. They just kept at work, and now we’re really calling on them to be heroes a second time to survive such a terrible, terrible tragedy,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
A reunification center for employees and families is at the County Building on 70 W. Hedding in the Isaac Newton room.
Officials also were investigating a house fire that broke out shortly before the shooting, Davis said. Public records show Cassidy owned a two-story home where firefighters responded. Fire crews found a fast-moving blaze after being notified by a passer-by.
A neighboring house also caught fire, authorities said.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said there were explosive devices inside the house that was on fire on Angmar Ct.
Public records show Cassidy owned the two-story home where firefighters responded.
Cassidy had worked for the VTA since at least 2012, according to the public payroll and pension database known as Transparent California. His position from 2012 to 2014 was listed as a mechanic. After that, he was a substation maintainer, the records said.
KRON4 spoke to Cassidy’s former girlfriend’s attorney, Robert Cummings, who said the two met on Match in 2009, and two months later he proposed. The girlfriend declined as she felt that was too fast.
Cummings said the girlfriend told him about Cassidy’s mood swings and that he was bipolar.
His ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, told The Associated Press that Cassidy had a bad temper and would tell her that he wanted to kill people at work, “but I never believed him, and it never happened. Until now.”
Nelms, teary-eyed and shaken by the news, said her ex-husband would come home wound up and angry about things that happened at work. As he talked about it, “he would get more mad,” she said. “He could dwell on things.”
When Cassidy lost his temper, Nelms said there were times she was scared. He was someone who could physically hurt others, she said.
Nelms said they were married for 10 years – Cassidy filed for divorce in 2005 – and had not been in contact for 13 years. She said he had been treated for depression.
Special agents from the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were responding to the crime scene, officials said.
VTA officials said all light rail service will be shut down until further notice.
On Thursday morning at 10 a.m., VTA leaders will be holding a press briefing to honor the employees killed and share information about them.
It will be held at VTA Headquarters located at 3331 North First Street at the outdoor amphitheater behind Building B.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.