VTA mass shooting: South Bay light-rail service suspended indefinitely

Source: Mercury News

Date: 5/31/2021

SAN JOSE — Light-rail service in the greater South Bay is on hold indefinitely in the wake of the mass shooting at a Valley Transportation Authority rail yard that ended in the slayings of nine transit employees by a VTA maintenance worker last week.

In a Sunday tweet, the transit agency announced that “VTA light rail service is suspended until further notice,” and that the current substitute of bus bridges will continue serving the three main lines that connect the South Bay from Mountain View to Los Gatos and East and South San Jose.

“Thank you for your patience while we navigate this unprecedented difficult time,” the agency wrote in the tweet.

Light-rail service was initially suspended a few hours after the Wednesday morning shootings at the Guadalupe Yard on West Younger Avenue, as the transit system was getting up and running for the day.

Samuel James Cassidy, 57, described as a disgruntled VTA substation maintenance employee who was shown to harbor violent feelings toward his employer and whose family suggested he suffered from untreated mental illness — including bipolar disorder — had three handguns and more than 300 rounds of ammunition when he began methodically shooting people and making his way through the Guadalupe facility.

By the end, it would go down as the deadliest mass shooting in Bay Area history.

Cassidy fatally shot himself as a Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputy — whose headquarters was next door — and San Jose police officers closed in on him near a third-floor stairwell. A cache of guns, more than 25,000 bullets and improvised explosives were recovered from his San Jose home, which authorities say he set on fire by putting bullets in a pot on a stove about an hour before the shootings. That meant the blaze began engulfing his home around the time the massacre was taking place.

The victims were Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Adrian Balleza, 29; Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; and Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40.

Anyone looking for further information about VTA service changes can call 408-321-2300 or go online to vta.org.

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