Transit authority settles for $8 million with families of San Jose railyard mass shooting victims
Saying it was too little too late, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo’s administration has agreed to pay $8 million to the families of the nine people killed when gunman in a transit station shooting targeted them on Jan. 1, 2015.
San Jose’s Transit Agency is settling the three lawsuits brought by victims and their families for $1.25 million, $3.75 million and $5 million, respectively. The total agreement would cover the families of the nine people killed.
Transit Authority Chairman Jim Hart is not required to disclose the amount. The agency is required by state law to notify victims and their survivors of its final settlement with them by Jan. 31.
“This is a good day for the public and for the people of our city,” Mayor Liccardo said in a statement. “This is a day I will remember for the rest of my life.
“For decades, we have worked diligently to change the failed and discriminatory policies that allowed the serial killer to kill and maim so many people,” he said. “Today’s agreement is a culmination of those efforts, and I will celebrate it once again, this time with my family.”
The first lawsuits were filed in 2010, following a shooting on a San Jose State University campus. That shooting also claimed the lives of nine people.
The victims include three San Jose State University students, three San Jose State graduate students, their respective families and two others.
The settlement funds will be distributed to the families among the five plaintiffs who bring the suit, including a victim and his sister, San Jose State student Justin Jones.
Jones was studying neuroscience and took a final examination two days before the Jan. 1, 2015, shooting, said Chris Schanzer, a lawyer who joined Jones in the case.
The shooting led to widespread calls for changes to the transit system and the city’s policies regarding the screening of students.
A similar suit was brought against the transit agency in the Superior Court of California in San Mateo. That lawsuit was dismissed in 2007 after a San Francisco judge found that transit agency was not liable.
Hart and Transit Authority Chairman Jim Hart said at the time they believed that the city’s actions and policies “contributed to the mass shooting tragedy.”