What we know about the gunman in San Jose mass shooting
A witness to Samuel Cassidy’s deadly rail yard shooting says the gunman appeared to target certain people: ‘He had a specific agenda.’
Authorities are trying to determine the motive for a mass shooting that left eight people dead Wednesday morning at a Valley Transportation Authority rail yard in San Jose.
The gunman, who worked there and had some kind of workplace dispute, also is dead.
Details about the gunman and the attack are beginning to emerge.
Here is what we know:
What do we know about the gunman?
He was identified by sources as Samuel Cassidy, 57, a maintenance worker at the VTA.
Sources said the suspect is believed to have killed himself after the mass shooting.
Early indications are that the shooting was related to a workplace issue, according to law enforcement sources.
The gunman set his own house on fire before driving to a union meeting at the VTA facility and shooting, authorities said.
Cassidy had worked at the light rail yard for at least eight years, according to public records. According to a law enforcement source, Cassidy shot virtually everyone on the morning shift, including some he had worked with for years. The shooting may have occurred during a union meeting, sources said.
At Cassidy’s three-bedroom home on Angmar Court in San Jose, investigators discovered firearms and a large amount of ammunition, according to sources.
His ex-wife filed a restraining order against him in 2009, according to court records.
The gunman set his own house on fire before driving to a union meeting at the VTA facility and opening fire, authorities said.
What happened at his house?
Before going to the rail yard, Cassidy apparently set his house on fire.
San Jose Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Jeff Fielding said firefighters responded to a fire at the suspect’s home at 6:36 a.m. No one was home.
“We encountered extremely heavy fire,” he said. At 7:27 a.m., the blaze was under control, he said. It went to two alarms. He said the fire “completely destroyed” the house and caused minor damage to a neighbor’s home.
Firefighters fought the fire from outside and did not enter the structure, he said. He said he had no information about possible explosives inside the structure.
Neighbors of Cassidy knew him as a “very strange, very quiet” guy in a neighborhood that was predominantly working class, said Ramon Crescini, 64, a retired general contractor who lives several doors down from the alleged shooter.
Although made of modest homes, the neighborhood has home prices of up to $1 million or more, given Bay Area real estate prices.
Crescini said he woke up Wednesday morning to see black smoke billowing several doors down. “The house was on fire,” he said, although fire crews prevented it from spreading very far.
What do we know about the shooting?
Officials said they received multiple 911 calls around 6:35 a.m. from witnesses who reported hearing shots ring out at the VTA rail yard on West Younger Avenue near downtown San Jose.
The rail yard is located in a cluster of public buildings, including the San Jose police department and Santa Clara sheriff’s department.
Both agencies responded quickly, and officers could still hear shots being fired when they neared the VTA rail yard, according to Santa Clara Supervisor Cindy Chavez.
Many details about the shooting are unclear.
But it occurred during a union meeting and it’s believed he knew his victims.
Deputies ran to the transit authority building within seconds of receiving reports of shots being fired at the rail yard.
“They immediately entered the building,” said Deputy Russell Davis of sheriff’s deputies. “Deputies did not exchange gunfire” with the suspect, he said, adding that they believe he shot himself.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said “my heart goes out to the victims.”
She said victims were shot in two separate buildings and the deputies and police officers immediately entered the premises as soon as they had entry teams. She believes that led the suspect to take his life.
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