Transit authority settles for $8 million with families of San Jose railyard mass shooting victims
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority has reached an $8-million settlement with the families of eight victims of a mass shooting last year at a San Jose railyard, the Mercury News reported Friday.
Nine workers were killed in the May 26, 2021, shooting: Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; and Alex Ward Fritch, 49.
The shooter, VTA employee Samuel Cassidy, killed himself when he was confronted by law enforcement.
The $8-million settlement comes a year after the families filed initial damage and wrongful-death claims against the VTA, the Mercury News reported.
In addition to the settlement, the victims’ families had also previously received one year’s salary, workers’ compensation death benefits and retirement benefits.
The settlement is reportedly well below what the families had sought in their initial claims.
The police chase that occurred Wednesday across L.A. and Orange counties was one for the ages as the suspect took other people’s vehicles, hit cars and rammed into police cruisers.
Gary Gwilliam, an attorney for the eight families who settled with the VTA, told the Mercury News that the cases against the transportation authority were “extremely tenuous and difficult.”
“These settlements are a fraction of what we think they should be worth in terms of what the families have lost,” Gwilliam told the Mercury News.
The family of Lars Kepler Lane did not settle with the VTA. An attorney for the family told the Mercury News that the offer was insufficient.
“Some of the families, they don’t know if they want more money or they want more apologies from them,” Jose Hernandez, father of Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, told the Mercury News. “It’s about accepting responsibility, and VTA will never admit that they did something wrong.”
Families had been seeking answers and accountability from the VTA regarding Cassidy’s continued employment after he showed “a series of red flags,” including berating a co-worker.
Cassidy was characterized as a disgruntled employee by investigators. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department said he had multiple cans of gasoline, incendiary devices, a dozen firearms and approximately 25,000 rounds of ammunition at his home, which was set on fire in conjunction with the attack.
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