A California light-rail employee who survived a mass shooting in May when a colleague killed nine coworkers has died by apparent suicide, police and agency officials said.
Henry Gonzales, a paint and body worker for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, was discovered dead by police in San Jose early Monday. His death is being investigated as suicide, KTVU reported.
Gonzales, a married father of four and a 10-year VTA veteran, was in one of the buildings at the San Jose rail yard when fellow employee Samuel Cassidy, 57, gunned down nine of his colleagues on May 26 before shooting himself in the head, KNTV reported.
“With a heavy heart, we confirm the passing of veteran VTA employee Henry Gonzales,” VTA officials said in a statement. “This is a very difficult time for VTA employees and their families, and we request privacy as we grieve the loss of Henry while continuing to grapple with the loss of nine other co-workers who were tragically killed in May.”
The Santa Clara County medical examiner will determine Gonzales’ official cause and manner of death. Foul play is not suspected, police said.
Union officials said Gonzales, who worked at the VTA’s Guadalupe Light Rail Yard, was an executive board member whose death highlights the need for improved mental health treatment.
“Unfortunately, the VTA has taken no action to address the grief, the mental health and the safety of their employees who have been under unfathomable, extreme stress after this tragic shooting,” Amalgamated Transit Union International President John Costa said in a statement. “The VTA’s inaction is shameful and threatens the well-being of our Local 265 members.”
Costa called on VTA officials to provide “immediate access the full spectrum” of mental health services, including inpatient care.
The VTA, meanwhile, denied Costa’s accusations, claiming officials have reached out to workers and their families with “multiple counseling and trauma resources,” KTVU reported.