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San Jose shooter had 12 guns, 22,000 rounds at home

Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Valley Transit Authority rail yard in San Jose claimed the lives of nine people and left the community in shock.

Now authorities are sifting through the wreckage, trying to understand why – and how – the shooter carried out this horrific attack.

Evidence portrayed the assailant, Samuel Cassidy, 57, as a disgruntled VTA employee who hated his job. Authorities said on Friday that an initial search of his home uncovered several cans of gasoline, suspected Molotov cocktails, 12 firearms and around 22,000 rounds of various types of ammunition.

“It is clear that this was a planned event and the suspect was prepared to use his guns to kill as many people as he could if the sheriff’s deputies had not come in to arrest his rampage, “Santa Clara County Sheriff’s spokesman Russell Davis said in a statement. Press release.

And new reports on Friday also indicate he may have been the subject of a disciplinary hearing at the agency, where he worked as a maintenance worker for the past eight years.

A police source told The Times that Cassidy was facing disciplinary action after making racist comments to colleagues. According to NBC News, he was due to attend a “sordid” hearing on Wednesday, the day of the attack. Such a hearing is required by an employer in the case of dismissal, demotion, suspension or reduction in salary and transfer accompanied by loss of salary. This is not a disciplinary hearing.

Samuel cassidy

(Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department)

Representatives for VTA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Some who worked with Cassidy described him as a loner at the agency.

“Sam was definitely out of the group,” said Kirk Bertolet, 64, a 12-year-old VTA employee who was on duty at the time of the shooting. “I’ve never seen him once sitting at a table with colleagues talking or doing anything. He was always beside himself doing something and never interacted.

Bertolet said the workplace was made up of blue-collar workers who were sometimes tough on each other.

“Sometimes if you have a little thin skin maybe you just don’t fit,” he said.

The nature of the attack was deliberate, methodical and targeted, the investigation revealed. Witnesses said Cassidy appeared to ignore some people while selecting others.

“Based on recent developments in the investigation, 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,” he said. Davis said Thursday.

Several agencies, including the San Jose Police and Fire Department, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, were assisting the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office with the investigation of the crime scene and Cassidy’s home. on Angmar Court, where a fire broke out a few minutes after the shooting began.

Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said he likely used a detonator to start the fire at the same time as the shooting. The VTA yard is eight miles from his home.

“The suspect is believed to have coordinated the destruction of his residence,” Sheriff officials said on Friday. It is believed that he acted alone.

On Friday morning, FBI officials confirmed that investigators also found intact Molotov cocktails inside Cassidy’s home and that bomb technicians “would work to make the suspicious materials as safe as needed so that investigators could continue. to collect evidence “.

Erica Ray, of the San Jose Fire Department, said authorities also located a device in the house they were going to secure. Investigators later determined it was an inert box of batteries and wires.

At a press briefing on Friday, San Jose Police Department spokesman Steve Aponte called Cassidy’s house “cluttered” and said it was a “possible situation hoarding “.

“It was a challenge for our officers to get through,” he said.

Potentially explosive materials were also found in Cassidy’s locker at the VTA yard within hours of the shooting. Officials said on Friday they completed their search of the rail yard and found no explosives.

Cassidy, who authorities said killed herself when deputies confronted him, was armed with three 9-millimeter semi-automatic handguns and 32 high-capacity magazines loaded with additional ammunition. Authorities said he fired 39 shots.

A security video released by authorities showed Cassidy at the VTA marshalling yard walking calmly between the two buildings where the victims were shot on Wednesday morning.

A VTA office worker, who wished to remain anonymous because she was advised not to speak to the media, said the first building houses the tracks, electrical and signaling team and that the second building includes operations and maintenance of the tram.

Based on the layout of the first building and the exit locations, she said, the victims would have had “nowhere to go.”

“They didn’t deserve this,” she said through tears. “They were just good guys who loved their families, who just wanted to go to work and come home every day.”

During a vigil Thursday evening, hundreds of people mourned the victims, aged 29 to 63.

They have been identified as Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; Adrian Balleza, 29; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35 years old; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63 years old; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; and Alex Ward Fritch, 49.

Karman Singh recalled how his brother, Taptejdeep, 36, joked that he looked younger than Singh, despite being six years older.

He often came to Taptejdeep for help, said Singh, describing how his brother “protected me from the responsibilities of this world.”

Whatever problems he found himself in, “he was my first call,” Singh said.

Other families described similarly close relationships with loved ones they lost.

Audrey, the daughter of Timothy Michael Romo, 49, said her father often called her her “favorite little girl,” to which she playfully replied, “I’m your only little girl.”

Romo’s son Scott said his father had been “everything I ever wanted to be as a man”.

“He was my superman and I will never miss him,” he said.

One victim, Alex Ward Fritch, 49, died in a hospital after the attack. His wife, Terra Fritch, said she was by his side when she died.

“We had one of those very special relationships that I think most people dream of,” she told The Times. “We were never really apart. And if he was somewhere without me, it was definitely noticed. Like, where’s the other half?

The couple were supposed to renew their vows in Hawaii for their 20th wedding anniversary in September.

“Alex loved off-road bikes, tiki bars and ‘most of all luckily he loved me,’ she said.

During the vigil, the mayor of San José, Sam Liccardo, read the names of the victims, stopping seconds before each. He explained that healing would be a long and difficult journey for many.

“We are here to share our pain, we are here to share our love, to share our support for one another,” he said. “We are here to express a unique message in our community: we will heal, and we will heal together. “

Victim assistance funds have been established through Working Partnership USA and the Amalgamated Transit Union.

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