The shooter wanted to target his victims specifically at the San Jose train station, says the sheriff
The union representative doesn’t work for VTA, Smith said.
Cassidy, a VTA employee, fatally shot his employees in two buildings during a shift change in the morning before killing himself in front of the police officers who responded, the authorities said. Authorities said Thursday they recovered three handguns instead of the two they originally said were carrying.
The handguns were legally sourced and registered, FBI special agent in charge in San Francisco, Craig Fair, said Thursday.
In 2016, Cassidy was found with a memo book filled with notes about hatred of VTA after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials searched his pockets, a Homeland Security official confirmed to CNN. Officers also found books on terrorism and fear and manifestos, the official said.
Cassidy returned from a trip to the Philippines. The Wall Street Journal was the first to publish information about the CBP raid on Cassidy.
“Based on recent developments in the investigation, we can say that the suspect has been a highly disgruntled VTA employee for many years, which may have contributed to his targeting VTA employees,” the sheriff said in a press release Santa Clara County offices on Thursday.
The shooter fired 39 shots, Smith told CNN. The authorities have stated that they are trying to determine the motive.
A witness told CNN subsidiary KGO that he also believed the shooter evaded certain people and apparently selected those he shot. “He … aimed at certain people. He passed other people,” VTA employee Kirk Bertolet told KGO on Wednesday evening. “He left other people alive while he shot others.” The shooting is the latest example of America’s gunpoint scourge. According to a report by the Gun Violence Archive, it is the 232nd mass shooting – which CNN also defines as a shootout in which at least four people were wounded or injured – this year. There have been seventeen such shootings in the past week, according to a CNN analysis of the archive.
President Joe Biden responded to the San Jose shooting by calling on Congress to take “immediate action” on gun legislation.
“Enough,” said Biden on Wednesday. “I again urge Congress to take immediate action and heed the call of the American people, including the vast majority of gun owners, to help end this gun violence epidemic in America.”The San Jose murders are the latest against key workers who keep the U.S. economy running during the Covid-19 pandemic, following high profile shootings, including in Indianapolis and Boulder, Colorado.
On the property where the shooting took place, vehicles are serviced and dispatched by VTA – a public transport company that operates bus and light rail services.
Those killed, aged 29 to 63, were: Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Adrian Balleza, 29; Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; and Taptejdeep Singh, 36, said the Santa Clara County’s coroner office.
They will be honored at an event in San Jose City Hall Square on Thursday evening.
Gunman’s San Jose home was on fire around the time of the shooting, Sheriffriff says
Emergency calls about the shooting began shortly after 6:30 a.m. when midnight and day shift workers overlapped, said Russell Davis, deputy sheriff of Santa Clara County.
Minutes after authorities were called about the shooting, firefighters were called to a fire at the suspect’s home in San Jose, Sheriff Smith told CNN Thursday morning. It is not immediately clear how this fire began.
Fair, the FBI agent, told CNN that investigators found intact Molotov cocktails made with paint thinner and alcohol and several guns in Cassidy’s apartment. No explosive materials were found in his locker.
The gunman shot people in two buildings at the station, Smith told CNN.
The shooter had three handguns and eleven magazines were found on his belt, Fair told CNN. Additional magazines that last more than 10 rounds and are illegal to possess in California were also found at the scene.
“They were handguns as they would be legal in California,” said Smith, adding that she did not know how or when the gunner received the guns.
MPs and other police officers arrived when the shooting continued within two minutes of the calls as the sheriff’s office has a station nearby. They confronted the shooter on the third floor of a building within six minutes, Smith told CNN.
The shooter “took his own life in front of the MPs,” Smith told CNN. She said she believed the police officers’ quick response saved many lives.
Investigators found ammunition and “a lot more” in the gunman’s house, said Smith, who did not elaborate on the materials found there.
Cassidy resented his work and spoke furiously about employees, says his ex-wife
Cassidy was upset with his work, his ex-wife Cecilia Nelms told the CNN subsidiary of the Bay Area News Group.
Nelms was married to Cassidy for about 10 years until the couple filed for divorce in 2005. According to the point of sale, she has not had any contact with her ex-husband for about 13 years.
He often spoke angry about his co-workers and bosses and sometimes turned his anger on them, Nelms told the point of sale.
When the two were married, “he resented what he saw as unfair work orders” and “scolded his job when he got home,” she said.
Cassidy had a strained relationship with an ex-girlfriend, as evidenced by court documents revealing worrying allegations she made on a file in 2009 when she responded to an injunction he filed against her.
The woman says she dated Cassidy for about a year, which after about six months turned into a relationship she kept repeating.
She described Cassidy as mood swings that “got worse when (Cassidy) consumed large amounts of alcohol,” she said on the court record, claiming he had bipolar disorder.
She said he enjoyed playing mind games with her, according to the court document.
“During the relationship, he got drunk, angry and sexually imposed on me several times,” said the former girlfriend, who did not name CNN and asked for comment.
The surveillance video shows a man leaving the suspect’s home
A surveillance video obtained from CNN shows a man leaving the alleged perpetrator’s home with a travel bag on Wednesday morning.
A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the video was taken around 5:40 a.m. and showed Cassidy leaving the house in a truck. The neighbor described Cassidy as a “calm” and “strange” man.
CNN reached out to the sheriff’s office to see if investigators saw and were aware of this video.
The neighbor later noticed that a fire broke out in Cassidy’s house at around 6:30 a.m.
The fire was reported at 6:37 a.m. – minutes after the shooting began, Sheriff Smith told CNN on Thursday.
No one was found in the house, Mayor Sam Liccardo told CNN subsidiary KGO.
According to tweets from the San Jose Fire Department, firefighters at a house on Block 1100 of Angmar Court in San Jose responded at the time Smith provided. That’s about eight miles from the VTA facility.
It took firefighters about an hour to put out the two-alarm fire, which caused serious damage and made the structure uninhabitable, the fire department said.
CNN’s Madeline Holcombe, Dan Przygoda, Jon Passantino, Sarah Moon, Eric Levenson, Stella Chan, Cheri Mossburg, Paul P. Murphy, Steve Almasy, Joe Sutton, Dan Simon and DJ Judd contributed to this report.