VTA settles with families of eight killed in 2021 rail yard shooting | the news | Media Pyro

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The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority announced a settlement Friday with the families of eight people killed in a shooting at the Guadalupe light rail yard last year, including Dublin resident Jose Hernandez III.

Eight families filed a wrongful-death lawsuit earlier this year against VTA, Santa Clara County, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Universal Protection Services, the security company tasked with guarding the rail yard, alleging failure to investigate or take action against the workers. Complained about the shooter’s actions at work.

VTA Board Chair Chappie Jones said the agency wants to “move quickly to meet the needs of families.” Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

“We applaud VTA for agreeing to promptly settle our families’ claims against VTA,” the families’ attorneys, Gary Gwilliam, Philip Borowski, Jeff Rickard, Randy Strauss, William Mayoff and Richard Alexander, said in a joint statement.

The nine VTA employees — Hernandez III, 35; Abdulwahab Alagmandan, 63; Adrian Ballesa, 29; Lars Lane, 63; Michael Rudometkin, 40; Paul Mejia, 42; Taptajeep Singh, 36; Timothy Romo, 49; and Alex Fritch, 49, were killed in the shooting at a maintenance yard on West Younger Avenue in San Jose.

In August 2021, a tenth employee, Henry Gonzalez, was found dead at home after witnessing the shooting.

The families of Fritch, Megia, Rudometkin, Singh, Alaghmandan, Hernandez, Romo and Lane filed three separate lawsuits, arguing that on May 26, 2022 — the one-year anniversary of the shooting — VTA agreed to a $50 million security contract. Along with the sheriff’s office and Universal Protection Service, both failed to conduct proper safety screening, risk mitigation efforts, and surveillance.

The lawsuits alleged that the shooter, Sam Cassidy, 57, had a “pattern of insubordination” and was involved in multiple fights with co-workers, and that VTA workers “agreed he was the most likely staff member to leave.” mail.”

Cassidy opened fire around 6:30 a.m. during a shift change at the rail yard. More than forty employees were on site at the time. Law enforcement determined that Cassidy killed himself before he could be confronted or apprehended.

As part of the settlement, eight families dropped their lawsuits.

Lars Lane’s family is the only one not settled with VTA, according to the transit agency.

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