Authorities have identified all eight victims killed in the mass shooting Wednesday morning at the VTA light rail yard in San Jose, capping hours of fear and grief experienced by survivors and relatives after the rampage.
Relatives of the dead were escorted, one by one, out of the Red Cross building in North San Jose just before sunset. Some had been told for the first time their loved one was dead not long before.
The victims range in age from 29 to 63, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office.
The victims are:
- 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
Taptejdeep Singh was the first victim to be publicly identified by his family, when relatives told reporters that Singh, a light rail operator who was married with two small children, was gunned down in a stairwell.
Coworkers told them that Singh had left the safety of an office — where others were hunkered down — to help colleagues escape, the relatives said.
“We are in very deep grief,” said his uncle, Sakhwant Dhillon. “He told people, ‘be careful, hide.’ He was running around the building to save others’ lives.”
As the evening wore on, officials with the district attorney’s office escorted relatives of other victims to their cars. By about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the coroner’s office released all eight names to the public.
San Jose Councilmember Raul Peralez posted on Facebook that he had lost his longtime friend, Michael Joseph “Mikey” Rudometkin. The pair were planning a golf-day reunion with Peralez’s father.
“There are no words to describe the heartache we are feeling right now, especially for his family,” Peralez wrote. “Eight families are feeling this same sense of loss tonight and our entire community is mourning as well.”
The rampage occurred just after 6:30 a.m. Wednesday when a shooter, identified by multiple sources as 57-year-old maintenance worker Samuel Cassidy, opened fire at his colleagues at the VTA rail yard before taking his own life.
The massacre ranks among the region’s worst mass shootings, leaving as many dead as the July 1993 spree at a San Francisco law firm by a disgruntled client who also died by suicide.
A vigil was hosted for the victims Wednesday evening in downtown San Jose.
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