A gunman he killed nine people in a California railroad yard where he worked, he appeared to be addressing some of the victims, a sheriff told The Associated Press on Thursday, while a Biden administration official said the shooter spoke of hatred of the his job when customs officers arrested him after a 2016 trip to the Philippines.
Samuel Cassidy, 57, arrived at the light rail facility for the San Jose Valley Transportation Authority at approximately 6:30 a.m. local time (1:30 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday, with a canvas bag full of weapons from semi-automatic hand and high-capacity magazines, said Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith.
“Right now we think he said to one of the people there, ‘I’m not going to shoot you,'” Smith said. “And then he shot other people. So I imagine there was some kind of thinking about who I wanted to shoot. “
Although there are no cameras inside the two railroad yard buildings, Smith said the images captured him moving from place to place. Smith said it took six minutes for the first 911 calls to find Cassidy on the third floor of one of the buildings.
He committed suicide as a deputy in the facility that served the county of more than a million people in the heart of Silicon Valley. There were more than 100 people at the time and authorities found five victims in one building and two in another, Smith said.
Authorities do not yet know if Cassidy had worked regularly with any of the victims. Investigators were carrying out search warrants for his home and cell phone, seeking to determine what caused the bloodshed, the sheriff said.
“I’m not sure we’ll really find the real reason, but we’ll gather as many of the witnesses as we can,” he said.
After being arrested in 2016, Cassidy was found to have a notebook with notes on how he hated the Valley Transportation Authority, according to a Biden administration official who described a note from the Department of Homeland Security. which presented Cassidy’s statements. The official saw the note and detailed its contents in The Associated Press, but was not allowed to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.
The Wall Street Journal first reported the note.
The note did not explain why he was arrested by customs officers. He said he had books on “terrorism, fear and manifestos,” but when asked if he had problems with people at work, he said no. He noted that Cassidy had a “minor criminal record” and cited a 1983 arrest in San Jose and charges of “obstruction of offenses / resistance to a peace officer.”
Cassidy’s ex-wife said she had talked about killing people at work more than a decade ago. The documents show that he had worked in the traffic authority at least since 2012.
“I never believed him and it never happened. So far, “a tearful Cecilia Nelms told the AP on Wednesday.
He said he used to come home from work resentful and angry at what he perceived as unfair tasks.
“I could stop at things,” he said. The two were married for about ten years until the divorce was filed in 2005, and had not been in contact with Cassidy for about 13 years, Nelms said.
The victims of the massacre
Several long-time employees were killed, many of whom worked together.
“What happened yesterday happened, it shows the character of these guys as they tried to save the others as they went through this chaotic situation,” said Naunihal Singh, railway superintendent.
The victims were Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, and Lars Kepler Lane, 63.
For his friends, Lars Lane was a quiet, quiet man who enjoyed spending time with family and taking on projects outside of his job at the Valley Transportation Authority.
He was the husband, father, grandfather and brother of five siblings, his childhood friend Brad Fisher, a truck driver, said in a telephone interview with Reuters news agency. He was “a normal guy who did extraordinary things,” Fisher said. An avid cyclist and a “fantastic by all trades,” Lane often loved doing home projects like building a pool in the back garden.
Fisher, 66, said Lane was proud of his work at the VTA and once showed Fisher down the railroad yard, even letting him operate a train for a minute for fun.
Taptejdeep Singh, 36, born in India, was always looking to help people, a trait that cost him dearly on Wednesday, family friend Kashmir Singh Shahi said in a telephone interview.
“He told me he was with Paul, another victim at the time,” Sukhvir Singh, a co-worker, who is unrelated to Taptejdeep Singh, said in a statement. “From what I’ve heard, he spent the last moments of his life making sure other people – in the building and elsewhere – could stay safe.”
Paul Delacruz Megia, 42, left three children, KRON television reported. Friends on social media remembered Megia for her good humor. In a Facebook post, her childhood friend Monica Lennon wrote that Megia had a “special twinkle” in her eyes and told her “weird jokes.”
“Thank you for making my life so much brighter because of your infectious smile,” Lennon wrote.
Phil Guzman, who said he worked with some of the victims, wrote on Facebook that Megia was “one of the best supervisors I’ve ever worked for.”
“Never too busy to listen to any stupid, silly or crazy thought I had. A truly honest and genuine person, “Guzman said of Megia.
Guzman also knew Adrian Balleza, a young victim of Wednesday’s shootings. Balleza posted many photos of his wife and young son on his Facebook page.
Michael Rudometkin, 40, was a motorcycle enthusiast, according to his Facebook profile. When she posted on Facebook in December 2018 that she had joined the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority as an airline worker, her mother Rose Rudometkin wrote, “Congratulations son!”
Raul Peralez, San Jose councilor and lifelong friend of Rudometkin, said: “Unfortunately, I can personally know how these nine families felt last night, this morning with just a sense of disbelief, with the hope that your loved one is still I will return home and knowing that this will never happen again ”.