They believe the shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) could have been worse, but the gunman, identified as employee Sam Cassidy, apparently killed himself when deputies arrived at the scene.
“It is clear that this was a planned event and the suspect was ready to use his guns to kill as many lives as he could if the sheriff’s deputies had not come in to stop his rampage. “said the sheriff’s office.
Authorities have yet to establish the motive for the shooting, but notes found in 2016, court documents and interviews with those who knew the shooter describe a man with anger issues dating back at least a decade.
He was an employee of VTA
Cassidy had been with VTA since January 2001. His most recent job was as a Substation Maintainer, who VTA says is someone who works on equipment that converts energy to run light trains. on rail.
The shooting took place around 6:30 a.m. PT at a San Jose light rail station as workers started trains for the day, authorities said. Video shows the shooter arrived around 5:30 a.m., said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair.
The police quickly arrived on the scene but did not exchange shots with Cassidy.
“I know for sure that when the suspect found out law enforcement was there, he committed suicide. Our deputies were there at the time,” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said. .
The sheriff’s office said in a press release Thursday that newly uncovered evidence indicated Cassidy was angry with her job.
“We can say that the suspect has been a very disgruntled VTA employee for many years, which may have contributed to the reason he targeted VTA employees,” the statement said.
The shooter fired 39 bullets and investigators believe he targeted his victims, the sheriff told CNN.
During his rampage, the gunman told a local union official who was present but who did not work for the VTA: “I am not going to shoot you,” Smith said.
Writings indicated hatred for the workplace
Cassidy had a hatred for his workplace which he expressed in notes discovered when his bags were searched nearly five years ago, a Department of Homeland Security official told CNN on Thursday.
Cassidy was taken for secondary inspection after returning from a trip to the Philippines on August 8, 2016, and U.S. customs and border protection officials searched her belongings, the official said.
In addition to a black memo filled with notes about hatred towards the transit agency, officers also found terrorism and fear books and manifestos, the official said.
Cassidy has been detained by CBP officials, at least in part because of red flags regarding sex tourism in that part of the world, the DHS official said. There is no indication that anything related to sex tourism has been found.
It does not appear that any follow-up action was taken after the 2016 research, the official said.
Cassidy visited the Philippines at least once more after the 2016 inspection, the official said, but it is not known whether he was the subject of a thorough search after that subsequent trip.
San Jose officials said police were never told of the arrest or the writings.
The suspect had three guns and an explosives ‘precursor’
Cassidy had three 9mm pistols and 32 high capacity magazines, the sheriff’s office said Thursday. Magazines, which hold more than 10 rounds, are illegal to own in California.
All three weapons were legally obtained and registered, Fair told CNN.
Fair said he believed all three handguns were used in the attack, noting that at some point during the shooting one of the pistols was stuck.
The shooter had 11 magazines on his belt when officers found his body, Fair said.
While scanning the filming scene, bomb sniffer dogs alerted the suspect’s locker and found “explosives precursors,” Sheriff Smith said.
She said the precursor devices included detonations.
When the authorities searched the house damaged by the gunman’s fire, they found 12 other weapons and 22,000 rounds. They also discovered suspected Molotov cocktails and gasoline cans.
Fire at the house belonging to an armed man
Investigators believe the gunman set his house on fire to coincide with the shooting, the sheriff’s office said.
Cassidy is believed to have started a fire by placing ammunition inside a pot on the stove, surrounding it with accelerators and lighting the stove, according to Deputy Cian Jackson of the Sheriff’s Office.
Surveillance video obtained by CNN shows a man identified as Cassidy leaving her home Wednesday morning with a travel bag. A neighbor, who did not want to be named, said the video was recorded around 5:40 a.m. and showed Cassidy leaving the house in a truck. The neighbor described Cassidy as a “calm” and “strange” man.
The San Jose Fire Department said firefighters responded to a house in the 1100 block of Angmar courthouse at 6:36 a.m. local time, just minutes after law enforcement was called. about the VTA shooting about 8 miles away.
It took firefighters about an hour to put out the dual-alarm blaze, which caused extensive damage and left the structure uninhabitable, the fire department said.
As of Friday, the structure had been made safe and no longer posed a threat to nearby residents, San Jose Fire Department spokeswoman Erica Ray said.
Women in his life said he had anger issues
Cassidy had a strained relationship with an ex-girlfriend, according to court documents, which revealed troubling allegations she made in a file in 2009 while responding to a restraining order he filed against her.
The woman says she dated Cassidy for about a year in what she said turned into a casual relationship after about six months.
She described Cassidy as having mood swings that were “exacerbated when (Cassidy) consumed large amounts of alcohol,” she said in the court document, and she alleged that he suffered from bipolar disorder.
She said he enjoyed playing mind games with her, according to the court document.
“Several times during the relationship he became intoxicated, enraged and sexually imposed on himself,” said the former girlfriend, whom CNN does not name and asks for comment.
“He had two sides,” Nelms said. “When he was in a good mood he was a great guy. When he was angry he was crazy.”
He often spoke angrily about his co-workers and bosses, and occasionally directed his anger at her, Nelms told the store.
When the two married, he “resented what he considered unfair work assignments” and “complained about his job when he got home,” she said.
“He just thought some people had easier things to live with at work and he would get the more difficult jobs,” she said.
Steve Almasy, Sarah Moon, Paul P. Murphy, Jon Passantino, Dan Przygoda, Geneva Sands, Dan Simon and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.