National News

California Bishop Prays For Victims Of ‘Senseless’ San Jose Shooting

Police secure the scene of a mass shooting May 26, 2021, at a rail yard run by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, Calif. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office reported nine people were killed. The gunman also was dead. (Photo: CNS/Peter DaSilva, Reuters)

By Catholic News Service

SAN JOSE, Calif. (CNS) — San Jose Bishop Oscar Cantú urged prayers for the victims and their families after a gunman opened fire the morning of May 26 at a rail yard operated by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, or VTA, north of downtown San Jose.

Nine people were fatally shot by the gunman, who was later identified by law enforcement as VTA employee Samuel Cassidy, 57. The gunman also died at the scene.

The victims, ranging in age from 29 to 63, are Paul Megia; Taptejdeep Singh; Adrian Balleza; Jose Hernandez; Timothy Romo; Michael Rudometkin; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, Lars Lane, and Alex Ward Fitch according to the Santa Clara County coroner’s office.

“May God comfort their families and loved ones and bring healing,” the bishop tweeted. “Pray also for all the first responders and law enforcement officers. May shock & grief give way to healing and grace, as we work together to protect the innocent and prevent such senseless acts in the future, so that peace may prevail in our hearts and communities.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Chairman for Domestic Justice also released a statement, calling the shooting a reminder of “something fundamentally broken in our society and culture.”

“It is particularly tragic that in a city named in honor of Saint Joseph, who was such a loving guardian of the Holy Family, we are unable to protect our own fellow citizens from the ravages of gun violence,” said Archbishop Paul S. Coakley.

NBC-TV Bay Area reported that at about 6:35 a.m., San Jose police received multiple 911 calls about gunfire at the VTA yard, and dozens of San Jose police and Santa Clara County sheriff’s vehicles responded to the scene.

“This is a horrific day for our city, and it’s a tragic day for the VTA family,” San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said. “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.”

Sheriff’s officials confirmed at about 8:10 a.m. that the shooter was dead, and late in the afternoon confirmed he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Several law enforcement agencies also went to Cassidy’s home in San Jose to conduct a search. A fire had been set at the home early in the morning, but whether it was set before the shooting was being investigated, according to NBC-TV. They found multiple weapons and ammunition inside the home and the attack appears to be related to a workplace issue, according to reports.