A GRANDPA and a dad-of-two are among at least nine people shot dead by a suspected gunman during a union meeting at a San Jose light railyard.
Samuel Cassidy, 57, has been named as the shooter who slaughtered nine coworkers and wounded several more at the Valley Transportation (VTA) maintenance yard at around 6:30am yesterday.
Read our San Jose shooting live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Eight victims, who were all employees of the Valley Transportation Authority, were named by the Santa Clara County Coroner last night.
Taptejdeep Singh, 36, was a dad of two and Lars Lane, 63, was described as a “loving brother, husband, and grandfather” by grieving family members.
The other victims are: Paul Delacruz Megia, 42, Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Romo, 49; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Michael Rudometkin, 40.
Alex Ward Fritch, who was wounded by the gunfire, died on Wednesday night at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.
The gunman turned the weapon on himself, authorities said.
Councilman Raul Peralez paid tribute to Rudometkin on Facebook.
He posted: “My heart is broken, I still don’t want to believe this… Mikey was all around the greatest guy.”
Air Force Veteran Timothy Romo had worked at VTA for over two decades.
His neighbor Nancy Martin told the San Francisco Chronicle: “He was a very friendly man, always ready to help you out.”
Chilling CCTV footage released last night captured the suspected gunman who carried out the massacre walking away from his home just before it goes up in flames.
The footage shows the man believed to be Cassidy preparing for his impending bloodshed, innocuously walking between a white Ford pickup and dark Toyota sedan parked at his home driveway.
A witness managed to videotape the same home bursting with flames and clouded in dark smoke as firefighters tirelessly work to put it out.
Santa Clara County Sgt. Russell Davis confirmed on Wednesday that the people who died in the rampage all are believed to be VTA employees.
The company reportedly has 2,100 employees, however, it is unclear how many people were on-site at the time.
Cassidy and the responding officers did not exchange gunfire.
Officials announced that the man turned his gun on himself “when he realized deputies were in the building.”
The deadly incident is believed to have occurred while workers were conducting a union meeting, KTVU reported.
In the aftermath, the building was also being searched “room-by-room” by bomb squads using sniffer dogs because there is suspicion that Cassidy planted multiple explosive devices at the VTA station.
“Bomb-making materials” as well as numerous cans of gasoline were discovered at Cassidy’s home, authorities told KPIX5.
The residence, which had been set ablaze allegedly by Cassidy himself, also kept several weapons and “hundreds of rounds of ammunition” inside it, according to law enforcement sources who spoke to the LA Times.
A spokesperson for the San Jose Fire Department confirmed there are “multiple scenes” connected to the shooting, though declined to elaborate further.
Local media have reported that Cassidy’s name is on the deed of the home being investigated by authorities.
Cassidy was a maintenance worker for VTA, police said.
His father, 88-year-old James Cassidy, told The Daily Beast that his son “seemed completely himself” in the days leading up to the shooting.
“He didn’t talk about his job or politics. I just found out he was dead and his house on fire and all that a minute ago,” he said.
“It’s really…. I really, really don’t want to… I guess I have to just kind of absorb it all myself. I don’t really have any information anyway, so… sorry.”
Cassidy’s ex-wife Cecilia Nelms remembered the man as being extremely moody.
“He had two sides,” Nelms, 64, told the Canon City Daily Record. “When he was in a good mood he was a great guy. When he was mad, he was mad.”
The couple divorced in 2005, according to the paper.
Cassidy had been working as a mechanic for a San Jose car dealer during the first two years of their matrimony before he took a job at the VTA.
The paper found that Cassidy had acquired a license to perform smog check inspections in 2003 and used to work at a San Jose Mazda dealership.
However, she said she has not been in contact with him for the last decade.
Glenn Hendricks, the chairperson of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority board of directors, said at a press conference that the shooting happened in the yard area of the station.
“This is a horrific day for our city and a tragic day for the VTA family,” Hendricks said, holding back tears.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo also spoke during the briefing, calling the shooting a “very dark moment.”
“Our heart pains for the families and the co-workers, because we know that so many are feeling deeply this loss of their loved ones and their friends,” he said.
“Now is a moment for us to collect ourselves, to understand what happened, to mourn, and to help those who have suffered to heal.”
The major vowed to ensure that “nothing like this ever happens in our city again.”
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California Gov. Gavin Newsom also spoke from the scene of the shooting during a later press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
His voice cracking with emotion, Newsom said his thoughts were with all those affected and expressed frustration over the gun violence “epidemic” currently plaguing the US.
“There’s a sameness to this and I think a numbness that we’re all feeling,” he said. “It begs the question: ‘What the hell is going on in this country?’”