KTVU has confirmed the names of the two workers struck and killed by a BART train Saturday afternoon.
One was Laurence Daniels, a railroad consulting engineer based out of Fair Oaks; the other was Christopher Sheppard, an AFSCME union member since 2012 who worked for Amtrak before taking a BART job.
BART officials described both victims as having extensive experience working around moving trains.
On Sunday, KTVU learned that Daniels owned a railroad engineering firm that specialized in automation and control system engineering, and he was contracted by BART at the time of the accident.
At his home in Oakland, KTVU spoke to his widow who was surrounded by friends and family. Her grief and shock was evident when she told us she didn't know anything about his work in Walnut Creek or the circumstances leading to his death.
At the Walnut Creek BART station, dozens turned out for a vigil Sunday evening. Members of several BART unions expressed their grief and sent condolences to the families of both men.
Fannie Pettis said she worked with Sheppard, saying he was good at his job and had been juggling more than one role.
“I just know it's going to be very difficult to go back to work -- whenever that is -- and he's not there. I will definitely miss his presence,” said Pettis.
“It's in great sadness we're all here,” said Stephen Oelschlaegel, a train operator. “It's unnecessary and senseless. My condolences to the family and the kids that don't have a father.”
At the Lake Merritt BART station Sunday, SEIU maintained a subdued presence on the picket line but members of ATU, the union that represents train operators, didn't take part.
“I think this is a really sensitive time and out of respect we need to give people time,” said union representative Chris Finn.
Union leaders did not want to talk about the tragedy's implications on the labor dispute Sunday, knowing it could morph into a full-on maelstrom.
The unions’ focus Sunday was on the tragic loss of life and the workers' collective grief. Just after 6 p.m. that night, about eighty people gathered for a candlelight vigil. SEIU workers took a break from the picket line to join ATU workers who organized the event for a chance to come together in solidarity.
Watchdogs are questioning an exclusive agreement between the City of Oakland and a non-profit group, tapped to lead a multi-million dollar project to redevelop the area around the Coliseum BART station.