After Gunman Kills 9 in San Jose Shooting, USCCB Says: ‘Something Fundamentally Broken in Our Society’

“It is particularly tragic that in a city named in honor of Saint Joseph, who was such a loving guardian of the Holy Family, we are unable to protect our own fellow citizens from the ravages of gun violence,” Archbishop Coakley's statement added.

HERO Tent President Kiana Simmons (L), and Amar Singh of San Jose (R), tend to a vigil organized by HERO Tent, following the mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light-rail yard, outside City Hall on May 26, 2021 in San Jose, California.
HERO Tent President Kiana Simmons (L), and Amar Singh of San Jose (R), tend to a vigil organized by HERO Tent, following the mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light-rail yard, outside City Hall on May 26, 2021 in San Jose, California. (photo: Philip Pacheco / Getty)

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development said on Wednesday, May 26, that the tragic shootings at a rail yard in San Jose, CA, “reminds us once again that something fundamentally broken in our society and culture must be courageously examined and addressed."

The shooting that left 8 people dead and multiple people injured took place at 6:48 A.M. at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard in San Jose. During the early morning work meeting, Sam James Cassidy, 57, a technician at the rail yard, started shooting at his colleagues and later took his own life.  Authorities said late on Wednesday that a motive had not yet been determined, but said that the massacre was being identified as a workplace shooting.

Victims of the shooting were identified Thursday night: 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.

“It is particularly tragic that in a city named in honor of Saint Joseph, who was such a loving guardian of the Holy Family, we are unable to protect our own fellow citizens from the ravages of gun violence,” Archbishop Coakley's statement added.

“As Americans we must understand why these horrific occurrences of violence continue to take place in our communities, and then unhesitatingly act to root out the causes of such crimes. Our Conference has called for many years for rational yet effective forms of regulation of these dangerous weapons. We also urge increased mental health outreach and services to identify and treat potential areas of conflict before they become tragic occurrences,” he also said.

The statement concludes reminding that "action is needed to attempt to reduce the frequency of these abhorrent acts through legislation and training. I call on Catholics around the country to pray for the dead and injured, as well as for healing in the community. May the Holy Spirit, whose wisdom and guidance we celebrated this past Sunday on Pentecost, bring consolation and strength at this time of great loss.”

Earlier in the day, Most Rev. Oscar Cantú, Bishop of San Jose, issued a statement saying:  “Let’s pray for the victims of this morning’s shooting in the VTA light rail yard in San Jose. May God comfort their families and loved ones and bring healing. Pray also for all the first responders and law enforcement officers. May shock & grief give way to grace and resolve, as we work together to protect the innocent and prevent such senseless acts in the future, so that peace may prevail in our hearts and communities.”

Ivan Aivazovsky, “Walking on Water,” ca. 1890

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