One of nine men shot on Wednesday by a disgruntled colleague in San Jose, California, heroically spent his final moments rescuing those around him, family members said.
Taptejdeep Singh, 36, was killed in the mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority, where police say Samuel Cassidy, 57, opened fire on his colleagues ahead of a scheduled disciplinary hearing over racist remarks. Cassidy later died by suicide.
Singh was a married father of two young children. He worked for about eight years as a light rail operator at the VTA.
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Taptejdeep Singh, 36 (left), was killed on Wednesday along with eight other workers in mass shootings carried out by Samuel Cassidy, 57 (right), at the Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, California
Tactical law enforcement officers pass through the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard where a mass shooting took place Wednesday morning
Singh’s brother, Karman Singh, said in a statement from The Sikh Coalition that, based on witness statements, Taptejdeep died desperately trying to protect his colleagues, including warning those arriving at work to stay away.
“From what we heard, he responded quickly to get colleagues into secure offices and frantically called on others who would have come in for a shift change to warn them about the shooter,” Karman said. “We understand he was trying to secure his building when he was killed.”
Karman described his brother as a “ wonderful person dedicated to serving others, ” saying their family took comfort in the knowledge that he died a hero.
Even in these moments of chaos, Taptejdeep lived by the values of Sikhi: living in the service and protection of others. We believe that if the shooter had ever asked our brother for help, Taptejdeep would have gone above and beyond for him, as he did for anyone he crossed paths with, ”Karman said. “He never harmed anyone, and no one who knew him would ever want to harm him.
San Jose’s Valley Transport Authority has shared this moving tribute to the nine people who died in the light rail depot on Wednesday. Singh is depicted second from the right in the bottom row
Witnesses said: Singh, a married father of two, bravely tried to save those around him and warned colleagues who came to work to stay away
At one point, Singh was pictured in this photo on social media with victim Paul Delacruz Megia. The 42-year-old father was described as a ‘ray of sunshine’
“We choose to remember Taptejdeep as the hero he was, both in those last moments and during his life of service.”
VTA employee Sukhvir Singh, who is not related to the victim, said he received a call from Taptejdeep, warned him about the active shooter and urged him to hide or leave immediately.
“He told me he was with Paul at the time, another victim,” Sukhvir said. From what I’ve heard, he spent the last moments of his life making sure others – in the building and elsewhere – could stay safe.
‘Thanks to him so many people could go home to their families.
Paul Delacruz Megia, 42, died along with Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Lars Kepler Lane, 63, and Singh.
According to Taptejdeep’s cousin, Bagga Singh, the 36-year-old hid a female colleague in a control room, saving her life, and then ran down a flight of stairs, where he came into contact with the shooter.
‘We heard that [Cassidy] chose the people to shoot, but I don’t know why they choose it [Taptejdeep] because he has nothing to do with him, ”said Bagga.
The victim’s brother-in-law, PJ Bath, told The Mercury News that he may have just got in the shooter’s way.
Chilling surveillance video surfaced of Cassidy, 57, who left his home shortly before the massacre. He was detained by officials over a notebook describing his hatred of the workplace – five years before he shot nine of his colleagues at a California rail yard, according to a report on Thursday.
Newly released surveillance video from the Valley Transportation Authority shows Cassidy (circled) crossing rail lines just minutes after the massacre
Singh was born in Punjab, India, and came to California with his parents about 17 years ago.
He leaves behind his wife, their three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter.
Karman, the victim’s brother, told me CNN on Friday that the family has yet to tell his son about his death.
Yesterday his son asked, “Where is he?” And we just had to tell him he’s on vacation, and … “He’ll get back to us,” said the brother.
Investigators didn’t immediately comment on a possible motive behind the fatal shooting, but Cassidy’s ex-wife said he’d talked about murdering people at work more than a decade ago.