VTA officials honor employees killed in mass shooting

San Jose VTA Rail Yard Shooting

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — In light of Wednesday’s mass shooting at a VTA rail yard in San Jose that killed several employees, VTA held a press briefing to honor the lives of those lost. 

“Today is a day to honor those individuals and their families, we want to support all of our employees who are grieving as we are all grieving,” says VTA Board chair Glenn Hendricks. “We know there’s more information to come about this incident but today is about our employees and their families. It is about people.” 

Alongside Hendricks were dozens of elected officials, board members, and VTA employees — all speaking earnestly about the nine employees who lost their lives after former VTA employee Samuel Cassidy opened fire at a rail yard in San Jose. 

“Many of you have reported the names of the employees that were lost,” says Hendricks. “To us here at VTA, they are friends and our family and we want to honor their memory.”

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s said Cassidy fired more than 39 shots with three semi-automatic handguns, 11 high-capacity magazines, and appeared to target victims. 

Incoming VTA General Manager Carolyn Gonot expressed her support and heartbreak for the crew members lost. 

“Our hearts are with the victims, their families, friends, the employees of VTA, and all of those impacted by this event,” says Gonot. “I will be joining VTA as the general manager, CEO in July but I previously spent 23 years here at VTA and they are considered my family.”

Superintendent of the light rail yard, Naunihal Singh, also shared a teary-eyed message to honor his fellow co-workers, many of whom he would speak to on a daily basis. 

Singh also mentioned the employees who lost their lives spent their last moments helping fellow co-workers get to safety. 

Naunihal Singh (right), superintendent of VTA’s light rail yard and George Sandoval (left) VTA’s light rail maintenance operations manager speak at a press briefing Thursday. Nine VTA employees were killed in a mass shooting Wednesday.

“I guess I am that unfortunate leader who lost my VTA family members, words are not enough to justify the pain we are all going through,” Singh said.

“I worked directly with Paul Megia, we shared the same office space, Taptejdeep and Adrian Balleza reported directly to me and I usually have interaction with them every day.”

Taptejdeep Singh, 36, worked as a light rail operator, always asking how he can help his fellow co-workers. 

Balleza, 29, a maintenance worker and light rail operator, was kindhearted and tried to make the job fun for his fellow co-workers, Singh said. 

Mayor Sam Liccardo was also in attendance, announcing a public vigil service for the victims Thursday at 6 p.m. in front of City Hall. 

Caltrain will provide free rides on the 260 and 264 trains. 

Working Partnerships USA is collecting donations for the victim’s families, click here to make a donation.

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