SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Across the San Francisco Bay Area, chalkboards appeared in neighborhoods over the weekend where residents left messages of love and support for the nine Valley Transit Authority workers killed last week in a workplace mass shooting.
The effort was organized by San Jose native Anthony Sohn along with members of the group Social Expressions.READ MORE: Fmr. Theranos Lab Director Testifies He Warned Holmes About Faulty Blood-Testing Technology
“Even though we’re part of different communities, we really wanted to show encouragement and that people really care,” said Derek Hon, of Social Expressions. “And to even show awareness that people even want to support the victims’ families for the nine people who died.”
In San Francisco, people gathered at a chalkboard in the Hayes Valley neighborhood to leave message of support and hope.
“I decided about 10 years ago when Sandy Hook happened that I would either become a vocal citizen or I would go back to Europe,” Victoria Dimitrakopoulos told KPIX 5.
Kimberly Yu shared similar sentiments.
“Many families were hurt, many victims, and we’re just trying to have a time where people in the community can go leave a word of encouragement for people just show some love,” she said.
- HOW TO HELP THE VICTIMS: Where to donate to help the families of VTA shooting victims
It was a somber Memorial Day across the Bay Area as residents remembered those who died in the shooting. Among the heroes who died that day was Paul Delacruz Megia.
Co-worker Cecilia Crowder said Megia saved her. He told her to go in his office and lock the metal door saying — “Please don’t let anybody in.” Then she heard gunshots.
“I’m really sorry. Paul saved me,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m very blessed for him.”READ MORE: COVID: Initial Vaccine Booster Availability Met with Low Turnout, Confusion
The other victims of the shooting were:
- Taptejdeep Singh, age 36
- Adrian Balleza, age 29
- Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, age 35
- Timothy Michael Romo, age 49
- Michael Joseph Rudometkin, age 40
- Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, age 63
- Lars Kepler Lane, age 63
- Alex Ward Fritch, age 49
At vigils since the shooting, families of the victims have also warmly remembered those who died. This would be a difficult Memorial Day for many.
“I will never understand why such a wonderful and gentle person had to be taken from us in this way,” Gloria Rudometkin, the wife of Michael Rudometkin, said in a statement. “I am heartbroken that I will never hear another one of his bad jokes, receive one of his great bear hugs, celebrate another joint birthday together or be able to give him a hard time about his terrible driving. Mike and I had 19 amazing years together full of adventures.”
Karman Singh, the brother of Taptejdeep Singh, was also grief stricken.
“We are beyond devastated by the loss of Taptejdeep, a beloved father, husband, brother, son and nephew,” he said. “He was a wonderful person who was committed to serving others at work and in his free time.”
- SPECIAL SECTION: San Jose VTA Shooting
Lars Kepler Lane’s son, Michael, also wrestled with his emotions.
“It’s shock and pain and then it feels surreal for huge periods,” he told. “He was so happy, he was always so joyous and wonderful.”
The last time Lane saw his father was a week ago when he called to ask for his help on his backyard projects. He said his dad meant “everything” to him.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Thousands Forced To Flee Fawn Fire; New Evacuations Ordered South Of Shasta Lake
“I don’t think I could ever amount to a fraction of the gentleman and overall stud that my father was,” Lane said. “He was loved by so many and he could do so much.”