A motive for the murders, if known, has not been shared with the public

By Chris Harris
May 27, 2021 09:21 AM
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san jose shooting
Credit: Philip Pacheco/Getty

California authorities have identified the nine victims from Wednesday's mass shooting at a light rail facility in San Jose, as well as the man behind the murders.

Investigators believe Sam Cassidy, 57, had specific targets in mind when he started shooting co-workers at the Valley Transportation Authority yard.

The shooter, according to police, had been a maintenance worker for the VTA since 2010. He ended his own life as responding officers closed in.

"When our deputies went through the door, initially, he was still firing rounds," Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith explained to reporters Wednesday evening. "When our deputy saw him, he took his life."

san jose shooting
Credit: Randy Vazquez/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty

Seven people were pronounced dead at the scene, while an eighth victim died en route to a local hospital. Overnight, a ninth person succumbed to their wounds.

The County of Santa Clara's Office of the Medical Examiner-Coroner identified the victims as Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Lars Kepler Lane, who was also 63.

A motive for the murders, if known, has not been shared with the public.

According to investigators, the shooter is believed to have used some kind of a device to ignite a fire at his two-story home at around the same time gunfire broke out at the rail yard.

On Wednesday, police spent hours searching the complex for possible explosive devices.

The gunman's ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, spoke to the Associated Press, and said her former husband had a bad temper and suffered from depression.

She said he had even said he wanted to kill people at his job, "but I never believed him, and it never happened," Nelms said. "Until now."

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She said her ex-husband would come home wound up and angry about things that happened at work. As he talked about it, "he would get more mad," Nelms said. "He could dwell on things."

She said when her ex lost his temper, at times, she was frightened, knowing he was capable of physically hurting others.

Helms said they divorced in 2005 after 10 years of marriage.