Paul Megia was excited to celebrate his son's eighth-grade graduation at a theme park, his sister tells PEOPLE

By Wendy Grossman Kantor
June 01, 2021 11:53 AM
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Paul Megia
Paul Megia with three of his kids
| Credit: Courtesy of Luci Megia

Paul Megia spent his final moments trying to keep his coworkers safe, his sister, Luci Megia, tells PEOPLE. "He's a hero," she says. "He saved a lot of lives."

Megia, 42, an assistant superintendent at the Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose, Calif., was one of nine people killed in a shooting Wednesday.

Megia was scheduled to work from home that morning and help with his children's online distance learning. He had planned to have breakfast with his father.

His father, Leonard, worked for VTA for 32 years until retiring about five years ago. He encouraged his son to join the VTA family.

"They would see each other and wave," Luci says, noting that Leonard and Megia sometimes crossed paths when they were a bus operator and light rail operator, respectively. "It was just happy times for my dad and brother."

Megia planned to retire early, at 55, to travel and spend time with his family. He recently earned a motorcycle license, and he loved wake boarding, taking his kids hiking in Yosemite and deep sea fishing.

"He was just always happy," Luci says. "He was this ray of sunshine and he would always brighten up the room."

Megia is survived by three biological children: Nathan, 22; Gavin, 13; and Avery, 10. His stepson, Kyle, is also 10. Megia's loved ones have created a GoFundMe page to raise funds and support his children's futures.

"The night before this happened, he was so happy and excited," says Luci, who spoke to her brother almost every day.

When she FaceTimed her brother the evening before his death, he told her he gave his son, Gavin, a haircut. The teen was graduating from eighth grade, and to celebrate, Megia planned to take the kids to Disneyland over Memorial Day weekend.

Paul Megia
Paul Megia and family
| Credit: Courtesy of Luci Megia

Megia was in the break room when he learned there was an active shooter, Luci tells PEOPLE. He ran around warning his co-workers to hide under desks or protect themselves, she says.

"He didn't have to do that. But he did," she says. "He always just knew how to take charge and take control of the situation."

Officials told her that when help arrived at the scene, her brother was still alive. They tried to rush him to the hospital, but she was told that he succumbed to his wounds.

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"He wasn't able to make it to the hospital," she says. "He was still breathing. So we know that he was fighting for his life."