9th victim dies after railyard shooting in San Jose; gunman was long-time rail employee: What we know
SAN JOSE, Calif. – A ninth victim has died in the shooting spree at Northern California light rail yard, the “last grim toll of yesterday’s shooting,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said Thursday.
“Now, all we can do is what we must: support our families and coworkers in pain, and assist their journey to healing,” Liccardo tweeted.
The gunman, an employee at the sprawling Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail hub, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and other employees were among the victims, police spokesman Russell Davis said Wednesday.
Authorities have not determined a motive. Here’s what we know:
The suspected gunman, identified as Samuel J. Cassidy, started firing rounds at about 6:30 a.m. local time in two buildings at the Santa Clara VTA light rail hub. VTA provides bus, light rail and other transit services throughout Santa Clara County, the most populated county in the Bay Area.
“When our deputies went through the door, initially he was still firing rounds,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said. “When our deputy saw him, he took his life.”
‘No words to describe the heartache’: 9th victim dies in shooting rampage
Who were the victims?
The initial eight victims were identified by the Santa Clara County coroner’s office Wednesday night: Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.
They had been bus and light rail operators, mechanics, linemen and an assistant superintendent over the course of their careers.
A ninth victim died late Wednesday. USA TODAY has not confirmed their identity.
Who is the shooter?
Cassidy, 57, was a long-time rail company worker. Payroll records obtained by the ABC7 News indicate he earned $160,000 in base, overtime and other pay as a VTA “substation maintainer.”
Investigators are trying to determine whether he was involved in a fire at his home and another nearby blaze.
A woman who dated Cassidy filed a restraining order against him in 2009, accusing him of rape and sexual assault. The filing, obtained by The Mercury News, also includes accusations that Cassidy had severe mood swings and suffered from alcohol abuse.
What was the motive?
Authorities have not determined a motive, nor have they said whether Cassidy was a legal gun owner or what type of firearm was used in the attack. His social media presence, if he had one, was not readily apparent, nor is his criminal record.
His ex-wife says he had anger issues and was not happy at work. Cecilia Nelms, who was married to Cassidy for about 10 years before they filed for divorce in 2005, told The Mercury News he often was angry at co-workers and about his assignments at work. She told the outlet that Cassidy thought the VTA was unfair with its work assignments. She said, however, that she had not spoken with him in more than a decade.
Biden, Gov. Newsom weigh in
California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with some family members of the victims. He praised the efforts of law enforcement at the scene but asked: “What the hell is wrong with us, and when are we going to come to grips with this?”
President Joe Biden said he would “yet again” be ordering flags be flown at half staff to mark another mass shooting tragedy and made a plea for gun control legislation.
“I urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners, to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America,” he said.
Contributing: Christal Hayes, USA TODAY; The Associated Press