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Monday, July 22, 2024 | Back issues
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Ninth Victim Dies in San Jose Mass Shooting

The gunman --- who also took his own life --- occasionally discussed shooting his co-workers because he was dissatisfied at work, according to his ex-wife.

(CN) --- A ninth person died of injuries sustained during a mass shooting at a San Jose railyard overnight, the 231st such incident in the United States this year.

Alex Ward Fritch, 49, died at a hospital Wednesday night, according to the Santa Clara County Coroner. Authorities have also identified the eight other victims: Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.

The victims were all employees of the Valley Transportation Authority and were working in two buildings near a light-rail facility just north of downtown San Jose, across the freeway from the San Jose International Airport and near the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office. 

The gunman, identified as Sam Cassidy, 57, talked about killing people at work nearly a decade ago, his ex-wife Cecilia Nelms told The Associated Press. 

"I never believed him, and it never happened. Until now," Nelms said.

Though she has been divorced from Cassidy for more than a decade, she said he used to come home disgruntled about certain assignments. 

"He could dwell on things," she said. 

Authorities have not released information on a motive. 

The shooting occurred when the members of a VTA union were meeting, although authorities have not confirmed whether there is a connection. 

San Jose City Councilman Raul Perez said one of the victims, Rudometkin, was a close friend. 

“There are no words to describe the heartache we are feeling right now, especially for his family,” he wrote on Facebook. 

Singh was a light-rail train driver for eight years before Wednesday’s shooting ended his life. He is survived by his wife and two young children. 

After the shooting began at 6:34 a.m. Wednesday, and officers from the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office were the first on scene. The gunman was alive at the time but turned the gun on himself as soon as he saw the first deputy, authorities said. 

“When our deputies went through the door, initially he was still firing rounds. When our deputy saw him, he took his life,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told reporters.

The Associated Press said the mass shooting was California's 15th in 2021. Experts define a mass shooting as one in which four or more people are killed. 

President Joe Biden urged Congress to take action on gun control and ordered flags to fly at half staff. 

“Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation,” Biden said Wednesday. “We can, and we must, do more.”  

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who traveled to San Jose on Wednesday, said the United States must self-evaluate in the aftermath of yet another tragic shooting. 

“There’s a sameness to this,” he said. “It begs the damn question of what the hell is going on in the United States of America?”

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