Mass shootings in San Jose: Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department releases body camera footage
SAN JOSE, California – The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department released a body-worn camera video Tuesday night of MPs responding during the mass shootings at the VTA train station in San Jose, California last week.
The video can be seen here.
In the terrifying four-minute body camera video, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office guides viewers through what the five-person “first contact” team found.
A sheriff’s deputy, a sheriff sergeant and three San Jose police officers make up the team of first responders who were on a mission to locate and stop the active shooter at the VTA station. The shooter was later identified as Samuel Cassidy.
In the video, the team reached the third floor of “Building A” when a VTA employee opened a door and spoke to them.
“Hands up,” yells one officer.
The VTA employee hands over his key card. This turns out to be a lifeline that gives first aiders all important access points within the building.
“While the contact team is moving through this control center, a shot can be heard,” Lt. Aaron Simonson of the sheriff’s office during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
RELATED: San Jose Shooting Widow Remembers Her “Soulmate” 22 Years Old
A shot can be heard in the video. Someone on the team says, “Oh s ** t!”
The team of five then track audible shots in search of the shooter.
In the following moments, two more shots could be heard in the video from the camera worn on the body. Shortly afterwards, the team enters the room where Cassidy’s body is. Edited by the sheriff’s office, the video shows the shooter’s body blurred in the distance.
By this point on that fatal morning, Cassidy had already shot several of his employees in a separate building – “Building B”.
Before the police officers arrived on site, surveillance footage showed Cassidy calmly making his way to Building A. There he murdered more of his employees and then shot himself twice.
“Oh, the gun,” one hears a respondent say. “I see the gun in his hand right there!”
Lt. Simonson stated, “At 6:44:51 a.m., the contact team is observing a gun in the injured person’s hand. The contact team must ensure that the person lying on the ground is not a threat.”
More than 100 VTA employees were on site that morning.
Sheriff Laurie Smith praised the bravery of the Contact Team, Rescue Task Force, and all field workers in preventing further deaths that day.
Their work was part of an active shooter protocol – a guideline that includes all law enforcement training together and collaboration.
“It was put into action by the sheriff’s office and the San Jose police officers who barely spoke a word,” said Sheriff Smith. “They knew what their job was. They did their job and actually confronted the suspect who took his own life.”
RELATED: Molotov Cocktails, 12 Firearms, 25,000 Rounds of Ammunition Found in VTA Gun Suspect’s Home
Nine were shot by Cassidy. Some of the victims are commended for trying to save others.
“We will never forget these innocent victims whose lives were taken by a mad coward,” the sheriff told reporters.
When asked about a possible motive, Sheriff Smith said that part of the investigation was still ongoing.
The sheriff’s office said Cassidy shot himself in the chin first. They said the fatal shot was on the side of his head.
The final shot was likely the one that killed the suspect when he died by suicide.
The coroner released a report shortly after the Bodycam video was published, stating that Cassidy’s cause of death was “multiple gunshot wounds to the head.”
“Although rare, this can happen in suicides where the first shot in the head was not immediately fatal,” said the coroner.
VIDEO: VTA mass shooting widow describes her husband’s last moments
On the previous Tuesday, VTA officials announced that light rail traffic would remain closed to allow transport service employees to mourn the loss of their employees.
“We ask our passengers to be patient and try to work as hard as possible to get them where they need to go,” said VTA spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross.
As the community continues to mourn, some wonder whether the tragedy could have been prevented.
Senator Dave Cortese, who represents San Jose, calls for the expansion and improvement of California’s red flag laws to prevent gun violence and mass shootings.
“Make sure every Californian understands that this tool is available to them, that they can intervene, that they can inform the relevant authorities or officials if they discover that something is wrong with someone, without stigmatizing someone, without compromising privacy hurt, ”said Cortese.
A fund was set up by Working Partnerships USA and the South Bay Labor Council to support the families of the victims.
“We want to make sure that they don’t worry about how to put food on the table or how to pay their rent, and those are the things that come up as a community,” said Maria Noel Fernandez.
“We need to step up and continue to step up to support these families and families like them.”
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All rights reserved.