San Jose Gunman Detested Workplace Long Before Rampage, Police Say


SAN JOSE, Calif. — The first stories of gunfire on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority gentle rail yard close to downtown San Jose, Calif., got here in at 6:34 a.m. on Wednesday, about half an hour right into a morning shift.

Inside the advanced, terrified workers flooded right into a car parking zone. The gunman is perhaps on the third ground, a dispatcher advised San Jose firefighters, although it was not clear from the 911 calls coming by which constructing he was in. Shots saved ringing out. Send extra ambulances, the dispatcher mentioned.

Three minutes later, one other name got here in. Eight miles from the rail yard, heavy smoke billowed from a single-story house in a suburban neighborhood. Firefighters headed out to fight the flames.

Only later would the authorities understand that the taking pictures and the fireplace had been associated: The gunman, recognized by officers as a 57-year-old man named Samuel Cassidy, who had labored in upkeep on the transportation authority for a few years, lived within the burning home.

He might need set off a tool to begin the blaze on the identical time that he opened fireplace on his co-workers, armed with three semiautomatic handguns and 32 high-capacity magazines, every holding 12 rounds, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office mentioned on Thursday. Deputy Cian Jackson, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office, mentioned a witness reported that the gunman advised somebody on the scene that he was not going to harm the individual, suggesting that he might need chosen his victims.

Nine men, ages 29 to 63, died. Mr. Cassidy killed himself, the authorities mentioned.

Indications that Mr. Cassidy held anger towards his office had been found by federal officers years earlier, after Customs and Border Protection stopped him as he returned from a visit to the Philippines in 2016. When officers searched his luggage, they discovered books about terrorism, manifestoes and a pocket book detailing how he detested the transportation authority, often known as the V.T.A., in line with an official who spoke on situation of anonymity to explain the contents of an inside message despatched across the company after the taking pictures.

The Homeland Security Department, which incorporates Customs and Border Protection, declined to remark, citing an investigation into the taking pictures in San Jose. The 2016 incident was earlier reported by The Wall Street Journal.

“Based on recent developments in the investigation we can say that the suspect has been a highly disgruntled V.T.A. employee for many years, which may have contributed to why he targeted V.T.A. employees,” Deputy Russell Davis of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office mentioned in a press release.

Sheriff Laurie Smith of Santa Clara County described the gunman’s killings as deliberate, although it was unclear whether or not he selected his victims. None of the individuals who had been shot survived. The sheriff prompt that the carnage, unfold out over two buildings, may have been worse if deputies, whose headquarters is subsequent door to the rail yard, had not arrived rapidly.

Sheriff Smith mentioned in an interview that the gunman turned to a union consultant who was on the web site for an impromptu go to and mentioned one thing like “I’m not going to shoot you” instantly earlier than he started killing his colleagues.

“He was very deliberate, very fast,” she mentioned. “He knew where employees would be.”

The Santa Clara County health worker’s workplace recognized the victims as Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.

They had been a part of a close-knit team of workers who helped hold the transit company’s buses and light-weight rail trains transferring. Several had been fathers, they usually included immigrants from the Philippines, India and Iran.

Credit…Sarah Hernandez, through Associated Press

Mr. Balleza, the daddy of a 2-year-old son, had labored on the V.T.A. since 2014. He had been excited to go fishing along with his son at some point, his spouse mentioned. Mr. Singh loved enjoying volleyball and had moved to the United States from India in 2005. Mr. Megia had moved to the United States from the Philippines when he was a toddler and beloved to take his two sons, daughter and stepson wakeboarding, his father mentioned. They had deliberate to go away for a visit to Disneyland on Thursday.

Credit…Megan Staker

“We don’t know the relationships or the correlations between the victims and the shooter,” mentioned Arturo E. Aguilar, the chairman of the California Conference Board of the Amalgamated Transit Union, a labor group that represented the employees who died. The individuals who died labored in varied departments, he added in an interview on the garden outdoors the union’s San Jose workplace on Thursday.

Credit…Leonard Megia

As the taking pictures started, Mr. Singh, who would turn out to be one of many victims, alerted colleagues: At 6:36 a.m., he known as Sukhvir Singh, one other worker, with an pressing warning. “Hey! There’s an active shooter,” Sukhvir Singh recalled Taptejdeep Singh saying. “Get out.”

Sukhvir Singh, who makes a speciality of repairing and sustaining the light-rail trains that run via San Jose and isn’t associated to Taptejdeep Singh, fled with crew members to a windowless constructing that homes vintage railroad automobiles. They waited there till it was over.

Credit…Singh Family

“He is the hero for everyone,” mentioned Sukhvir Singh, who described Taptejdeep Singh as unfailingly gracious and useful.

He mentioned Mr. Cassidy barely knew Taptejdeep Singh, who labored in a distinct division as a light-rail operator, and in a distinct constructing. “They didn’t have any connection at all,” he mentioned.

For a time, Sukhvir Singh labored in the identical constructing as Mr. Cassidy. He would cross him within the halls and say hi there, he recalled, and Mr. Cassidy may acknowledge him with a grunt. “He didn’t really communicate with other people,” Sukhvir Singh mentioned. “He was in his own world.”

In Santa Cruz, Calif., Mr. Cassidy’s ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, 64, mentioned on Thursday that he was depressed and offended all through their 10-year marriage. They had not spoken in 13 years, she mentioned.

He proposed three months after they met at a nightclub in Cupertino, Calif., when Mr. Cassidy labored as a mechanic for a Mazda dealership. He beloved automobiles and pets and saved a number of boa constrictors along with the couple’s two canines. He later started working for the V.T.A.

Over the years, Ms. Nelms mentioned, Mr. Cassidy’s character modified, and he grew meaner, angrier and extra impatient. He struggled with despair and took remedy for it. He complained about his co-workers on the V.T.A., grumbling that some had been lazy or had simpler jobs than he did.

Occasionally, Ms. Nelms mentioned, Mr. Cassidy would say, “I wish I could kill them.” She mentioned she didn’t assume he was severe.

The couple, who had no youngsters, broke up in 2004 and divorced.

Mr. Cassidy lived in a one-story house with white trim and a patchy garden within the Evergreen neighborhood in a suburban nook of southeastern San Jose. After the taking pictures, the neighborhood was swarmed with fireplace and police automobiles, federal brokers and a boxy blue truck from the San Jose bomb squad. Men with gasoline masks and oxygen tanks stood amid the flashing lights within the cul-de-sacs of what all of them described as a quiet suburban neighborhood that’s house largely to Vietnamese and Filipino immigrants.

Doug Suh, who lives throughout the road, mentioned Mr. Cassidy lived alone and infrequently had guests.

“I was afraid of him,” Mr. Suh mentioned. “My wife was scared of him, too.”

Mr. Suh recalled Mr. Cassidy as soon as lashing out at him when Mr. Suh turned his automotive round in Mr. Cassidy’s driveway. “He yelled, ‘Do not come onto my driveway.’”

On Wednesday after the taking pictures, Mr. Suh scanned via his safety digicam footage. The digicam captured Mr. Cassidy at 5:40 a.m. — lower than 45 minutes earlier than he opened fireplace on the rail yard — loading his white pickup truck with a black bag. He was carrying a uniform with reflective stripes.

“What about all these families that lost sons and fathers?” Anthony Nguyen requested in an interview in his driveway. “I’m so sorry for them. It’s not right. All these broken hearts.”

Thomas Fuller reported from San Jose, and Kellen Browning from San Jose and Santa Cruz, Calif. Reporting was contributed by Shawn Hubler in Sacramento and Eileen Sullivan in Washington. Also contributing reporting had been Maria Cramer, Adeel Hassan, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Frances Robles, Daniel Victor and Neil Vigdor. Susan C. Beachy and Kitty Bennett contributed analysis.



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