More than 12 hours after a shooter opened fire in a San Jose railway yard, authorities identified the nine victims killed in the gunfire.
According to the Santa Clara County medical examiner-coroner, their names were Michael Rudometkin, 40; Lars Lane, 63; Paul Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Romo, 49; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Alex Fritch, 49. They were employees of the Valley Transportation Authority.
The shooter was identified as Samuel Cassidy. Authorities said he killed himself at the scene. His ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic abuse and rape in 2009.
Authorities have yet to establish a motive, but Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office said Thursday he was carrying three semi-automatic handguns and had 11 loaded magazines. The attack was “very deliberate, very fast,” and he went from building to building, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said.
Cassidy may have selected his targets as he told at least one employee “I’m not going to shoot you” during his deadly rampage, the sheriff’s office said. K9 units later found bomb materials in his work locker.
Michael Rudometkin’s mother, Rose, confirmed to The Daily Beast that her son had been killed in the spree.
“He didn’t deserve to die this way,” she said, sobbing. “He was a fabulous young man. He would give the shirt off his back to anybody.”
Rudometkin worked as an overhead line operator for the Valley Transportation. His mother said he attended the union meeting where the shooting broke out Wednesday morning.
She described him through tears as a “fabulous son” and the most charitable person she knew.
“He would do anything for anybody day or night. He had helped so many people. He never had a cross word to say about anybody,” his mother said. “I could go on and on and on.”
Rudometkin was a youth minister at Queen of Apostles Roman Catholic Church in San Jose, she said. He had been born and raised in Cupertino, California, and had played football at Cupertino High School. He attended Evergreen College before working at Frontier Ford and later the Valley Transportation Authority, becoming a skilled technician along the way.
Rudometkin loved to golf, according to his mother. San Jose City Council Member Raul Peralez said Wednesday the two had been planning a golf outing before Rudometkin was killed.
“Now that will never happen again,” he wrote on Facebook. “There are no words to describe the heartache we are feeling right now.”
Lars Lane’s family spoke to local station KRON 4 late Wednesday. His family described him as a dedicated father, husband, grandfather, and brother.
“It’s horrible. That’s my brother,” said Edward Lane.
Taptejdeep Singh, who was also a light rail operator for the VTA, moved to the United States from India in 2005 and had two young children, his brother told ABC7.
“My emotions right now, I’m in deep grief right now, very sad for us the whole family,” Singh’s uncle, Sukhwant Dhillon, told the outlet.
Singh heroically helped his co-workers escape and warned others that shots were being fired. One co-worker told the family that Singh, who had been working at the VTA for at least eight years, ushered one woman into a secure room.
“One lady he put in the control room to hide over here you know. He can go there too actually, but he just saved her and went towards downstairs,” his brother, Bagga Singh, said.
Social media pages for Adrian Balleza indicate he had been a VTA light rail operated for several years.
“It still doesn’t feel real,” Heather Balleza, his wife, told The New York Times. Describing him as humble and caring, she added that the couple has a 2-year-old son. “The world needs more people like my husband, not one less. He was my night and day. The best father and husband … my forever angel.”