A hero victim of the San Jose rail yard mass shooting was killed while rushing around trying to save his workmates, his family said.
Taptej Singh, a 36-year-old father of two young kids, had been in the safety of an office in the Valley Transportation Authority Light Rail Facility — but raced out to help when he heard gunfire early Wednesday, his family told the Mercury News.
“He was running around the building to save others’ lives,” his uncle, Sakhwant Dhillon, told the paper of what was relayed to them by survivors who remained in the office.
“He told people, ‘be careful, hide,’ ” Dhillon said of his nephew, calling him a “good person” who “helped everybody.”
Just before Singh was one of nine shot dead, he “put a lady in a control room to hide,” his brother, Bagga Singh, told the paper.
“He saved her and rushed down the stairway,” the brother said — referring to the spot where the family was told Singh was finally confronted and killed.
“He should have saved his life, too. We lost a good person,” he said of his brother, the married father of a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.
Singh, who was born in India, had worked for the VTA for about 9 years, his family said.
He was confirmed late Wednesday as being among nine staffers killed by 57-year-old maintenance worker Samuel Cassidy, who went on the rampage with two semiautomatic handguns just after 6:30 a.m. that day.
Survivor Kirk Bertolet told KGO how he heard “several bursts” of gunfire.
“It was a series of shots, then another series of shots and another series of shots,” he recalled, saying that when he emerged he “saw a mass of bodies,” including some he saw “take their last breath.”
“I do know that he had a specific agenda and was targeting certain people,” Bertolet insisted. “He walked by people, let other people live as he gunned down other people.”
However, authorities said it’s unclear whether he was targeting specific colleagues.
“I think that will come up in the investigation, but we’re not certain right now,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told NBC’s “Today” show.
Bertolet said he believes the killer snapped at how he was treated by some fellow workers, saying, “We sometimes are brutal to one another.”
The Air Force veteran also bemoaned the fact that the VTA complex is a gun-free zone, suggesting it hindered chances of stopping the slaughter.
Cassidy also killed Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, and Lars Kepler Lane, 63. A ninth victim, Alex Ward Fritch, 49, died later in the hospital.