Noah Berger / AP
A transit worker opened fire early Wednesday morning at a downtown streetcar facility in San Jose, Calif., Fatally shooting nine people and committing suicide. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo told NPR’s morning edition that the gunman set his own house on fire before the shooting.
Many employees were already working at the facility when filming began around 6:30 a.m., Liccardo said. The mayor spoke to the brother of one of the victims, who said he was on the phone with his brother when the shooting took place.
“They both worked in the facility and one was urging the other not to come because he had heard gunshots elsewhere in the facility,” Liccardo said. “And then, of course, there was no voice on the other end of the line.”
The suspect was reportedly employed by the Valley Transportation Authority, a bus and light rail transit service that operates in Santa Clara County.
“The gunman set his own house on fire that morning,” Liccardo said, before walking several kilometers to the transit center. “There was another fire that was closer nearby and we’re still trying to better understand the connection between that and this incident,” he said.
The mayor said shootings of this magnitude were “uniquely American”. He said attacks of this nature can be attributed to the number of firearms in circulation.
“We have a lot of regulations and there is no doubt that we need to do more to reduce gun violence,” Liccardo said. “But the reality is, I’m not sure any law will stop mass shootings as long as we’re in a country with over 300 million guns.”
Authorities initially identified eight victims: 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, and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.
The ninth victim, Alex Ward Fritch, 49, died at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center on Wednesday evening after being taken to hospital in critical condition, a Santa Clara County press release stated.
The latest grim toll from yesterday’s shooting has extinguished our desperate hope that perhaps the last shooting victim might survive. Now all we can do is what we need to: support our families and colleagues in pain and help them on their healing journey. https://t.co/qcGJuCwk7g
– Sam Liccardo (@sliccardo) May 27, 2021
“A lot of us are still very numb from it. We just received a notice late last night that the ninth victim is now dead and it really extinguished the last hope we had that maybe there might be someone there. ‘one who survived this horrible and horrible act, “Liccardo said.” So we have families who have lost loved ones and colleagues who have lost friends. And I think our task now is to do everything what we can to support them and help them begin the road to recovery.