SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — 29-year-old Adrian Balleza, one of the nine employees killed last week in the San Jose VTA shooting, is being credited with saving his brother’s life before his death.
Adrian’s brother, who is also a VTA employee, says Adrian is his guardian angel and saved his life through a phone call.
“He saved my life and he saved his friends,” Juan Balleza said.
Adrian warned him not to go to work at the VTA light rail facility last Wednesday morning as a gunman opened fire.
“It was about 6:35 when my phone rang and he told me not to come to the yard and I asked him why, and he said it’s because he heard gunshots outside of the building,” Juan said.
Confused as to what was happening, Juan remained on the line with his brother, anxiously awaiting to learn more. Adrian then went silent.
“After a couple of minutes, I heard gunshots coming from where he was, close by his phone, so I tried to get him to answer me and he wasn’t answering. Then I heard some more gunshots,” Juan said.
Juan later learned his younger brother Adrian and two other VTA employees, Paul Megia and Taptejdeep Singh, were warning their co-workers to get to safety.
All three were shot and killed.
Juan painfully listened as Adrian took his final breaths over the phone.
“He was selfless in that act. He sacrificed himself to save others,” Juan said.
Juan, who is a VTA maintenance worker, says he did not know the shooter 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy but he’s angered by what Cassidy did to his brother and 8 others.
“He took my best friend from me. He took my brother. He took my blood,” Juan said.
Adrian leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old son, and a family with aching hearts but for Juan, his brother leaves behind a legacy of courage.
“I just want my brother to be remembered for saving lives,” Juan said.
Adrian is remembered by other family members as someone who could light up a room with his smile.