LCC K-9 Ministry Teams and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses Ministry Comfort Hurting Community Following Shooting in San Jose, California
9 People Killed, Many Injured
232nd Mass Shooting Reported This Year
At 6:45 am on Wednesday, May 26, shooting began at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail yard in San Jose, California, during the morning shift change. At least eight of the nine people reported killed were employees, and many other employees were injured. The shooter, who was also an employee, took his own life as first responders arrived. Victim age ranges are from 29 to 63 years old.
In less than 24 hours, Tim Hetzner, LCC President/CEO, and LCC Director of K-9 Ministries, Anastasia, received an invite for the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs from Pastor Andy Koschmann from Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Los Gatos, California, and Rev. Michael Lange, LCMS District President for California, Nevada, and Hawaii District.
Bonnie Fear, LCC K-9 Crisis Response Coordinator with LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Aaron (St. John – Napa Valley, California), Micah (Light of the Valley – Elk Grove, California), Rahab (St. Andrew – Stockton, California), and Reuben (First Lutheran – Yuba City, California), along with their ministry teams, deployed to be present with employees, throughout the community, and first responders who were trying to cope with another mass shooting tragedy.
On Friday, May 28, Micah and Rahab Comfort Dogs, with their ministry teams, were present at the vigil at Sikh Gurdwara San Jose. The teams were there to honor the victims of the VTA shooting and support the hurting community.
Rahab’s Comfort Dog handler shared this reflection, “Saturday was my first time deploying and the entire day gave clarity to the word “Presence” that I have heard over and over since joining the LCC K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry. I think being present at the vigil was very much appreciated by those who attended. It opened doors and gave some much-needed comfort.”
Several families with young kids, as well as young adults, spent time with Micah and Rahab during the vigil.
On Saturday, May 29, the teams set up Hearts of Mercy & Compassion, Crosses for Losses at a memorial in the VTA courtyard headquarters for staff and families to sign.
In addition, Aaron and Micah Comfort Dogs, with their handlers, visited Yerba Buena High School. Adrian Balleza, one of the shooting victims, was a graduate of the high school, and a memorial is laid there in his honor. Aaron and Micah gave lots of love and comfort to the high school staff.
On Saturday, May 29, Micah, Rahab, and Rueben Comfort Dogs spent time with the San Jose 911 Call Center dispatchers. One of them said this was the first time she has seen smiles in days. The Comfort Dogs were certainly mood changers for the staff.
There was a lady who was afraid of dogs. She observed for quite some time, then eventually stood behind the dogs for a photo and finally got brave enough to pet Reuben. Talk about a smile!
During their deployment in California, the LCC K-9 Ministry teams were also present at San Jose Police & Fire Departments, and Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Los Gatos, Vasona Park comforting all those who needed it following the tragic shooting.
LCC’s K-9 Comfort Dog Ministry and Hearts of Mercy & Compassion Ministry never charges those we serve as we bring the Mercy, Compassion, Presence and Proclamation of Jesus Christ to those suffering and in need. Please keep the San Jose, California community in your prayers.