First, the gunman set his home on fireplace.
Then he drove to work Wednesday morning and shot 9 co-workers to dying in two separate buildings at a San Jose gentle rail yard, after presumably setting explosives.
As Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies ran on scene simply moments after the primary 911 calls got here in, he apparently shot himself to dying.
Witnesses mentioned the gunman worn out a lot of the early shift on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority facility, in California’s worst mass taking pictures of the yr and one of many deadliest within the nation in 2021.
“What the hell’s occurring in the USA of America?” Gov. Gavin Newsom requested at a day briefing after assembly with members of the victims’ households. “What the hell’s flawed with us? … When are we going to place down our arms, actually and figuratively?”
Regulation enforcement sources recognized the alleged shooter as Samuel Cassidy, a 57-year-old upkeep employee who had been employed on the VTA for at the very least eight years.
Authorities are nonetheless looking for a motive within the taking pictures, though early indications level to a work-related concern that didn’t contain riders on the Silicon Valley’s gentle rail system. Investigators mentioned Cassidy solely focused co-workers in the course of the assault and didn’t fireplace at police.
Cassidy’s physique was discovered on the scene, which was swarmed all through the day with cops, sheriff’s deputies, FBI brokers and bomb specialists, human and canine. As of noon Wednesday, explosives nonetheless had not been cleared from the rail yard, and the area’s light-rail service was suspended indefinitely.
Virtually two years in the past, one other rampage despatched shockwaves via Santa Clara County and past when a gunman opened fireplace on the well-known Gilroy Garlic Competition, killing three folks and wounding 17 others in 2019.
Santa Clara County Dist. Atty. Jeff Rosen famous that tragedy throughout a briefing Wednesday, saying, “Sadly, we’ve got expertise with mass taking pictures occasions.”
Authorities on Wednesday night time 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; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; and Alex Ward Fritch, 49.
Cassidy lived in a beige stucco home with pale inexperienced trim in a working-class San Jose neighborhood close to the 101 Freeway. The homes have been modest, however, this being the Silicon Valley, costs run to the million-dollar stage.
His neighbors knew Cassidy as a “very unusual, very quiet” man, mentioned Ramon Crescini, 64, a retired common contractor who lives down the road. Crescini mentioned he wakened Wednesday morning to see black smoke billowing from a number of doorways down.
It took firefighters almost an hour to get the two-alarm fireplace beneath management, mentioned San Jose Fireplace Dept. Battalion Chief Jeff Fielding. Cassidy’s house was “fully destroyed,” Fielding mentioned, and a neighboring home was broken.
On Wednesday morning, the neighborhood was cordoned off by native and federal regulation enforcement brokers, who found firearms and a big cache of ammunition in Cassidy’s home.
“They blocked the entire thing,” mentioned Thang Lu, 57, an auto components supply employee. “Loads of loopy issues are occurring in San Jose. It’s getting worse, not just like the previous days.”
Cassidy was divorced greater than a decade in the past. His ex-wife advised the Mercury Information that he had a mercurial mood and sometimes complained that co-workers and relations had simpler lives than he did.
However Cecilia Nelms of Santa Cruz mentioned she by no means knew her ex-husband to personal weapons, and she or he couldn’t hyperlink the person she had been married to for 10 years with the gunman who lay useless on the rail yard. Courtroom information present that the couple married in 1994 and divorced in 2005.
“He had two sides,” Nelms advised the Mercury Information. “When he was in a very good temper, he was an amazing man. When he was mad, he was mad.”
However court docket paperwork paint a darker image.
Cassidy sought a restraining order in opposition to a former girlfriend in March 2009. He wished the court docket to bar the then-45-year-old from coming anyplace close to him, his mother and father or any feminine houseguest.
He claimed the lady had grabbed him the yr earlier than, threatened him and promised to contact his employer and get him fired, in response to court docket paperwork. The court docket granted the restraining order in opposition to the lady a month later.
In response, the previous girlfriend alleged in a declaration that, throughout their yearlong relationship, Cassidy sexually assaulted her and “exhibited main temper swings on account of bipolar dysfunction.”
“These temper swings could be exacerbated when Petitioner consumed massive portions of alcohol,” the declaration mentioned. The Occasions is just not naming the lady, as a result of she is a sufferer of an alleged sexual assault.
“A number of instances in the course of the relationship he turned intoxicated, enraged and compelled himself on me sexually,” she mentioned within the court docket submitting. There have been instances, she mentioned, when she refused to have intercourse and he would maintain her arms and drive himself on high of her.
She denied ever harming Cassidy, noting she was 5 toes 4 and he was 6 toes 1 and weighed 200 kilos.
Cassidy walked out of his San Jose house at about 5:40 a.m. Wednesday, carrying a black duffel bag. He was wearing a security jacket and pants with fluorescent strips. Pictures of Cassidy have been captured on video by a neighbor’s surveillance digicam.
He positioned the bag right into a white pickup truck. The surveillance video doesn’t present him drive off. However lower than an hour later, his home was in flames and he and eight others have been useless. A ninth sufferer died Wednesday night time.
Officers haven’t recognized the form of weapon used within the taking pictures. However Rosen, the Santa Clara district lawyer, mentioned “there have been a number of weapons, however not a ghost gun.” Ghost weapons are do-it-yourself, untraceable firearms.
Members of the family spent a lot of the day on the American Purple Cross of Silicon Valley, positioned in an industrial space of San Jose. Most declined to talk with reporters within the hours after the taking pictures.
Bagga Singh, who lives in Union Metropolis, waited on the middle for phrase of his cousin, a practice operator and father of two.
By Wednesday afternoon, he mentioned the location-tracking gadget on his cousin’s telephone confirmed it was nonetheless contained in the constructing the place the taking pictures occurred. He known as the quantity time and again, he mentioned, and so did different relations.
However the telephone simply rang and rang.
Singh wouldn’t share his cousin’s title. The person was considered one of a number of relations, all immigrants from India, who labored for the transit company. However he was the one one on obligation Wednesday morning, when the gunman carved his lethal swath via the rail yard.
“We’re simply ready for information,” Singh mentioned.
Nobody, not even native hospitals, may present any info, he mentioned. The household hoped the cousin wasn’t answering his telephone as a result of he was with regulation enforcement brokers, being interviewed concerning the assault.
The opposite risk was simply too painful to ponder.
“There’s nothing we are able to do,” Singh mentioned. “We’re right here collectively to assist one another.”
The cousin’s spouse was with different relations contained in the Purple Cross constructing, he mentioned, however they deliberate to ship her house whereas they continued their vigil. They have been amongst 60 to 70 relations ready to seek out out the destiny of their family members.
“It’s tense, you understand, very tense,” Singh mentioned. The constructing was full of distraught folks. Some have been in tears. “Lacking, you understand, is an enormous drawback.”
Newsom, who had spoken with a number of relations, mentioned they have been all in ache.
“They’re ready to know if their family members are alive,” he mentioned. “They’re dialing their family members, they usually can’t discover them. … [They were] determined to seek out out if their brother, their son, their dad or their mother continues to be alive.
“The truth that they will arise and assist each other is exceptional.”
Whereas California is thought for its robust gun legal guidelines, it has been unable to keep away from mass shootings that plagued almost each a part of the USA earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic and have continued. These embrace current mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and Indiana.
President Biden mentioned he and Vice President Kamala Harris have been each briefed on the taking pictures. In an announcement, he urged Congress to “heed the decision of the American folks, together with the overwhelming majority of gun homeowners” and move laws to assist finish the “epidemic” of gun violence within the nation.
“Sufficient,” he mentioned. “Each life that’s taken by a bullet pierces the soul of our nation. We will, and we should, do extra.”
Occasions workers writers Chris Megerian, Leila Miller and Jaclyn Cosgrove contributed to this report.
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