9 San Jose Shooting Victims Include a Beloved Father of 2 and Eager Parent Planning a Trip to See His Son

Amar Singh holds a sign up at the vigil at City Hall, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in San Jose, Calif. A shooting at the VTA Light Rail Facility yard left nine people dead, including the gunman, who was a VTA employee.
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President Biden called the deadly massacre a “horrific tragedy,” and in a statement said “enough.” He called on Congress to take immediate action on gun control legislation. To honor the victims, the president had flags flown at half-mast, CBS said.

Nine victims killed in a deadly mass shooting at a light rail yard in San Jose, California, have been identified. The latest victim, who was hospitalized in critical condition, died late Wednesday, a report said

The victims in the VTA mass shooting ranged in age from 29 to 63, CBS News reported.

The Santa Clara County Office of the Medical Examiner-Coroner identified the casualties as Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Lars Kepler Lane, 63, and the latest victim, Alex Ward Fritch, 49, CNN reported. 

All were employees of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) and the coworkers of the gunman, Samuel J. Cassidy, a long-time employee of the VTA, who shot himself as officers approached him, CBS News reported. 

Cecilia Nelms, the ex-wife of the mass shooter, was devastated hearing the news of the deadly rampage. She told CBS News that Cassidy had a "temper," and described it as "one of his biggest problems," but said she "never thought he would do anything like that."

Nelms told the Associated Press that when they were married, Cassidy was disgruntled and eerily talked about killing people at work going as far back as a decade..

"I never believed him," Nelms said. "It never happened. Until now." 

Wednesday's massacre was the 232nd shooting in which at least four people were shot in the United States so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, cited CNN. It was also the 60th mass shooting in the U.S. this month, CBS reported.

President Biden called the deadly massacre a "horrific tragedy," and in a statement said "enough." He called on Congress to take immediate action on gun control legislation, CBS said.

To honor the victims, the president had flags flown at half-mast.

The VTA is a public transit service that operates bus and light rail services in the Santa Clara Valley and employs about 2,000 workers. On the day of the shooting, 75-80 people were working at the facility. The shooting that began around 6:34 a.m. at the rail yard during a shift-change when VTA workers who worked the overnigh ended their day and the morning employees checked in, authorities said. 

San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez's friend he's known since middle school, Michael Joseph Rudometkin, was one of the people killed in the tragedy, CBS reported.

In a Facebook post, Peralez expressed his grief. "There are no words to describe the heartache we are feeling right now, especially for his family," Peralez said.

Taptejdeep Singh, another VTA employee killed at the hands of the shooter, was married with two young children, according to a report. 

His cousin, Bagga Singh, told CBS News, "We heard that (the gunman) chose the people to shoot, but I don't know why they choose him because he has nothing to do with him."

Another victim was 49-year-old Michael Romo, who was planning a vacation with his wife to visit their son, his neighbor Keith Baldwin told the San Francisco Chronicle.

"I was hoping to see him walking through here," Baldwin told the Chronicle.

Around 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, police and Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies got multiple 911 calls about an active shooter. 

The rail yard is next door to the Sheriff's Office and a block from the San Jose Civic Center and county offices, according to KPIX 5 CBS SF BayArea News. 

Possible explosives were also detected at the site by a bomb-sniffing dog. A bomb squad and law enforcement from multiple agencies continued to scan the premises to ensure no explosive devices were at the VTA yard, a report said. 

Deputy Russell Davis of the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said that investigators are still looking into the gunman's motive for the killing spree.

A fire at a home 13 miles away believed to be the Cassidy's went up in flames around the time of the shooting. As fire crews managed to get the fire under control, cans of gasoline and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were found, officials said. Some of the items were described by authorities as "bomb-making materials," CBS reported.

Gov. Gavin Newsom shared his outrage of the gun violence and news of another mass shooting as he expressed his feelings of "numbness," saying "This feels like this happens over and over and over again. Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat."

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told CNN that one thing that was clear about Wednesday's massacre was that "the victims and all the colleagues knew the shooter well."

A vigil for the shooting victims will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall Plaza.

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