San Jose VTA Shooting: Difficult situation for the Sikh community as family members struggle to trace their loved ones

Taptejdeep Singh of Union City was identified as one of the victims of the VTA shooting.

UPDATED: Officials have identified the victims of the shooting at the VTA rail yard in San Jose. One of the victims has been identified as 36-year-old Taptejdeep Singh from Union City.

Other victims were identified as –

Michael Rudometikin, 40
Paul Delacruz Megia, 42
Adrian Balleza, 29
Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35
Timothy Romo, 49
Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63
Lars Lane, 63

Santiago Mejia / San Francisco Chronicle

Over 8 hours ago in San Jose, an employee opened fire and killed eight others. The shooting took place at the VTA light rail yard in San Jose, where several Sikh employees are known to work. While the authorities are still investigating the incident and have not identified the victims, some in the Sikh community are still struggling to track their loved ones.

The incident reminds many of the recent FedEx shooting that took the lives of 8 people, 4 of them of the Sikh faith.

Condemning the incident, Kashmir Singh Shahi, a prominent Sikh leader from the Bay Area, said, “This is a sad day in San Jose. My prayers for the affected families. This is very disturbing as it is affecting our everyday life. The government needs to step up to make sure this does not become a norm.”

While there is no official word whether any of the victims or survivors were from the Sikh Community, Shahi was at another event just four days ago in Union City to call attention to racism and crimes against the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI). The event was organized after a series of hate crimes in the country targetting the AAPI community.

Raj Chahal, a council member from the city of Santa Clara, said, “The VTA mass shooting incident in San Jose is heartbreaking. Families have lost their loved ones, and life will never be the same for these families. These were all hard-working people who did not deserve this fate. Our prayers and thoughts for all the victims, their families and friends.VTA employees have gone out of their way to help the community during the pandemic none of these deserved this.”

“Once again, this mass shooting highlights that our country has to treat gun control and mental health issues as a top priority. It is frustrating to have another unspeakable and tragic mass shooting happen right here in our backyard,” he added.

“These attacks are happening way too often, and we must do something to stop them. The Sikh community has been targeted multiple times. First, we lost our loved ones in Oak Creek and then Wisconsin, and now this,” said Gurpreet Singh from San Jose.

“I don’t work at VTA anymore, but when I did, there was a sizable community of Sikhs within the VTA. We had many drivers, engineers and mechanics. A lot of our young people joined VTA right after college since the pay was good. This is definitely a tough time for our community,” he added.

The motive behind the shooting is currently not known, and investigators have not disclosed the victims’ names.


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