VTA testing out light-rail trains before allowing passengers back on board

Three months after the tragic mass shooting at a Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose, the agency is moving toward resuming service.

The transportation agency's CEO and general manager Carolyn Ganot said they are making significant progress.

Some light rail trains are supposed to be back out Tuesday afternoon, but for test runs only.

The agency is in the process of retraining and re-certifying employees after a months-long break. VTA crews are also inspecting tracks and platforms to ensure they are in smooth condition.

Once inspection crews give the all-clear for equipment and overhead lines, operators will run trains with supervisors and support staff on board.

Ganot said the company wants to build a foundation where employees feel safe and supported coming back. For that reason, the agency has taken was she calls a "trauma-informed approach" to resuming operations three months after a former employee shot and killed nine co-workers at the Guadalupe rail yard.

"I’d like to say something about our employees. They are heroes," Ganot said. "They are survivors who are dealing with the kind of grief most people will never know. And they have chosen to come back to their jobs to serve their community. I am in awe of them."

There were 100 employees at the rail yard when the deadly shooting unfolded on May 26. The gunman, 57-year-old Samuel James Cassidy, carried out the massacre and was said to have targeted some of his victims.

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Investigators and some of Cassidy's colleagues described him as a disgruntled VTA employee.

Kirk Bertolet, a VTA employee who was barricaded in his office when the shots rang out, told the Associated Press that he had a polite relationship with Cassidy. Bertolet said Cassidy was an "outsider" at work and stayed to himself.

Bertolet believes Cassidy did target specific coworkers.

"He was pissed off at certain people. He was angry, and he took his vengeance out on very specific people. He shot people. He let others live," he said. "It was very personal. Very targeted," Bertolet said.