The maintenance worker who gunned down nine co-workers at a San Jose streetcar construction site before committing suicide on Wednesday was under investigation at work because co-workers complained about his racist comments, said law enforcement officials told KNTV in San Jose.
Most of the victims at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority facilities were people of color.
There were no details as to the exact nature of the remarks allegedly attributed to Samuel Cassidy, 57, who was identified as the gunman of the massacre. Sources told NBC television that Cassidy also bragged about the guns and explosives he owned.
Cassidy came to work on the day of the shooting with a duffel bag containing three semi-automatic handguns and 32 high-capacity magazines, the Associated Press reported. He appeared to target his victims by firing at least 39 rounds.
“It seems to us at this point that he said to one of those present, ‘I’m not going to shoot you,'” Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told AP on Friday. “And then he shot other people. So I guess there was some kind of thinking about who he wanted to shoot.
Law enforcement and firefighters responded to reports of a fire at Cassidy’s home minutes after the shooting broke out. The fire was started by a timed explosive device. Investigators discovered suspected Molotov cocktails, gasoline cans, 12 firearms and 22,000 cartridges of various types of ammunition home, the Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office reported on Friday.
“Based on the current evidence obtained by detectives from the Sheriff’s Office in the VTA yard and at the suspect’s residence, it is clear that this was a planned event and the suspect was prepared to use his weapons. fire to kill as many people as he could if the sheriff’s deputies couldn’t. came in to stop his rampage, ”the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Cassidy was able to get the guns even though he was questioned in 2016 by Customs and Border Protection after returning from a trip to the Philippines with books on terrorism and a newspaper about his hatred of his workplace, reported the Wall Street Journal. It was not clear whether CBP had already passed this information on to local law enforcement authorities.
Cassidy’s ex-wife Cecelia Nelms told AP he struggled with his temper and talked about killing his colleagues over a decade ago.
Sheriff investigators described Cassidy as a “very disgruntled VTA employee for many years.” They have not yet determined the motive for the shooting.
Hundreds of people gathered outside San José City Hall on Thursday evening to honor and remember the victims, aged 29 to 63.
“We are here to share our pain, we are here to share our love, to share our mutual support,” San José Mayor Sam Liccardo said after reading their names. “We are here to express a unique message in our community: we will heal, and we will heal together. ”
One of the victims was Taptejdeep Singh, a member of the Sikh community, who spent his final moments warning his colleagues to stay in their offices and calling other people entering work to warn them of the gunman.
“Thanks to him, so many people have been able to return home to their families,” his brother, Karman Singh, said in a statement. He had “the heart of a lion”.
Taptejdeep Singh, 36, leaves behind a wife, a 3-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter.
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