A Filipino among 9 killed in San Jose, CA mass shooting


A VTA Light Rail in Mountain View, Calif. | Photo by Marcel Marchon via Flickr/Creative Commons

NEW YORK – Paul de la Cruz Megia, a Filipino employee of the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), was among the 9 people killed in a mass shooting in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, May 26.

Local officials said the shooting took place at an employee meeting, with at least 80 staff on-site at that time. The suspected shooter, Samuel Cassidy, a railway technician, reportedly took his own life

The VTA provides rail, bus, and shuttle services to the Bay Area, a Silicon Valley tech hub of almost a million people.

This composite of images provided by the Valley Transportation Authority shows the nine victims of a shooting at a VTA rail yard on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in San Jose, Calif. Top row, from left, Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, Adrian Balleza, Alex Fritch, Jesus Hernandez III. Bottom row, from left, Lars Lane, Paul Megia, Timothy Romo, Michael Rudometkin, and Taptejdeep Singh. (Valley Transportation Authority via AP)

Megia, 42, started in 2002 as a bus operator trainee. He became a light rail operator, transportation supervisor, transit division supervisor, and assistant superintendent in service management.

According to reports, Naunihal Singh, the superintendent of the light rail yard, supervised many of the victims and shared an office with Megia. Taptejdeep Singh, 36, and Adrian Balleza, 29, both light operators, reported to Megia. Both were among those killed.

“I’m that unfortunate leader who lost my VTA family members,” Singh said. “Words are not enough to justify the pain we are all going through.” He said Megia always accepted all of his requests with a smile and was “always willing to help his employees.”

Megia’s family said he was survived by his parents, Leonard and Edna, and was their only son. He also had two sisters, Luci and Julie. He had three children, Nate, Gavin, and Avery.

The Philippine Consulate General in San Francisco extended its condolences to the family of Paul de la Cruz Megia in a statement posted on Twitter.

“The Consulate General extends its condolences to the families of the victims of the mass shooting in San Jose. The Consulate is confirming that at least one of the victims is of Filipino descent, and stands ready to extend assistance,” the Consulate General posted on Twitter.

US President Joe Biden called the incident a “horrific tragedy” and ordered flags to be flown at half-staff, saying in a statement: “There are at least eight families who will never be whole again.”

“Once again, I urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners, to help end this epidemic of gun violence in America,” he said.

“Every life that is taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We can, and we must, do more.” (With reports from Reuters, CNN, and Jay Domingo)

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