Samuel Cassidy ready for years to unleash his rage.
He had weapons. He learn up on terrorism and manifestos. He harbored bomb-making supplies. He rigged his house to go up in an inferno as he got down to kill 9 fellow workers at a light-rail hub in San Jose.
Whereas he plotted intricately for a mass assault, showing like a terrorist on a mission, his motive was a lot easier: He simply hated his co-workers.
That is the image painted thus far by legislation enforcement as detectives attempt to know the pent-up animosity that Cassidy seems to have kindled for a decade in opposition to the individuals he labored alongside.
Cassidy, described by those that knew him as having alcohol points, for years talked about his hatred of his office on the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) mild rail hub. The small print clarify the suspect employed ways not routinely seen in mass shootings.
“It actually stands out when you’ve a person like this who goes to such excessive steps,” stated Ed Davis, a former commissioner for the Boston Police Division who helped lead the investigation into the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. “You could have individuals with these burdens of one thing that was accomplished to them and so they fixate on them and it finally ends up turning right into a decade-long vendetta.”
Learn in regards to the victims:He tried to warn his co-workers, then he was shot: Family members mourn victims of taking pictures at San Jose rail yard
Exes say Cassidy had ‘two sides,’ talked about office violence
Lengthy earlier than Wednesday’s assault, Cassidy ranted about his job and colleagues — even threatening to kill.
Two girls — an ex-wife of 10 years and an ex-girlfriend — supplied a glimpse at Cassidy’s previous, detailing his anger and alcohol points, together with earlier threats of office violence.
Cecilia Nelms, who was married to Cassidy for about 10 years earlier than they filed for divorce in 2005, instructed The Mercury Information Cassidy had “two sides.”
She stated he typically was indignant at co-workers and about his assignments at work. She instructed the outlet Cassidy thought the VTA was unfair with its work assignments, although she stated she hasn’t spoken with him in about greater than a decade.
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“He had two sides,” Nelms instructed The Mercury Information. “When he was in a very good temper he was an excellent man. When he was mad, he was mad.”
She instructed the Related Press he’d “dwell on issues” and had talked about killing individuals at work greater than a decade in the past.
“I by no means believed him, and it by no means occurred. Till now,” Nelms stated via tears.
One other lady who dated Cassidy accused him in court docket paperwork in 2009 of rape and sexual assault. The submitting, obtained by The Mercury Information, additionally contains accusations that Cassidy had extreme temper swings and suffered from alcohol abuse.
Neighbors of Cassidy described him as quiet, unusual and a little bit of a loner, saying he did not speak to others and appeared unfriendly.
Doug Suh, who lives throughout the road from Cassidy, instructed USA TODAY Cassidy had lived within the space for 20 years however regardless of his roots there, by no means wished something to do along with his neighbors. He stated he’d tried to speak with Cassidy a number of instances, saying hiya and providing different pleasantries, however wouldn’t get a lot of a response.
“Each time I say hello, he’s ignored me,” Suh stated. “I used to be shocked although…I didn’t assume he was going to … kill individuals like that.”
Suh added to The Mercury Information, Cassidy was “lonely” and “unusual.” He by no means appeared to have guests.
As soon as, Cassidy yelled at him to remain away as he was backing up his automobile. “After that, I by no means talked to him once more,” Suh instructed the newspaper.
Indicators of preparation 5 years in the past
In 2016 — 5 years earlier than the mass assault — Cassidy was stopped on a visit again from the Philippines by U.S. Customs and Border Safety.
A Division of Homeland Safety memo from the cease, which was obtained by The Wall Avenue Journal, contains that an officer discovered Cassidy had “books about terrorism and concern and manifestos … in addition to a black memo guide full of plenty of notes about how he hates the VTA.”
A Biden administration official stated he noticed the memo and confirmed its contents to The Related Press.
The memo doesn’t say why Cassidy was stopped after his 2016 journey. It notes the gunman had a “minor legal historical past” and cites a 1983 incident the place he was arrested in San Jose and charged with “misdemeanor obstruction/resisting a peace officer.”
A spokesperson for the Division of Homeland Safety declined to touch upon the memo to USA TODAY. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Workplace, which is main the investigation into the taking pictures, didn’t reply to repeated questions on whether or not they have been notified in regards to the 2016 cease or investigated Cassidy afterward.
Gunman focused victims, set timer to set his house on fireplace
Cassidy left his house round 5:39 a.m., armed with a duffel bag and what consultants say was a plan to by no means return.
Earlier than he left, he set a timer or slow-burn system to set his two-story on fireplace, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith stated. The fireplace was reported minutes after the primary 911 calls got here in in regards to the taking pictures on the rail facility.
Footage captured by information helicopters confirmed legislation enforcement sifting via particles within the yard of the beige house all through Wednesday afternoon. The again of the house appeared to have essentially the most seen injury with the roof charred and particles thrown within the yard.
“Everybody of those killers are totally different but it surely’s clear he wished to precise his rage on others but additionally wished to destroy himself — and that included his house,” stated Dr. Ziv Cohen, a forensic and medical psychiatrist who consults on homicide instances and serves as an skilled witness in legal trials.
Cohen famous it is potential the suspect might have been trying to destroy proof, but it surely was clear he did not plan to return. “I do not actually assume I keep in mind a particular instance like this one the place an individual destroyed their house,” he stated.
Cassidy fired 39 photographs throughout his rampage via two buildings on the sprawling VTA hub and appeared to focus on among the victims, Smith instructed the Related Press in an interview.
Smith stated the shooter instructed no less than one particular person: “I’m not going to shoot you” throughout the assault. The gunman then shot different individuals earlier than he shot himself as deputies closed in.
Extra on the taking pictures:Gunman focused some victims in San Jose rail yard taking pictures, sheriff says; ninth sufferer dies
Timeline of the assault:Officers rushed into San Jose rail yard as gunshots have been nonetheless ringing out
Three handguns, 11 unlawful high-capacity magazines and explosives
As authorities cleared the rail yard Wednesday, they discovered an assortment of what seemed to be bomb-making supplies in Cassidy’s locker — forcing a lockdown of the world and bomb technicians to comb the massive advanced.
Smith instructed NBC’s “At this time” Cassidy’s locker had “supplies for bombs, detonator cords, the precursors to an explosive,” Smith stated.
The Sheriff’s Workplace instructed The Mercury Information the contents of the locker have been later deemed to not be harmful and no precise explosive gadgets have been found.
Sheriff’s Deputy Russell Davis stated Cassidy had three semi-automatic 9mm handguns together with 32 high-capacity magazines loaded with extra ammunition.
In California, it’s unlawful to purchase magazines that maintain greater than 10 rounds. Nevertheless, if Cassidy had obtained them earlier than Jan. 1, 2000, he can be allowed to have them except he was in any other case prohibited from possessing firearms.
Regardless of accusations from two girls — an ex-wife and ex-girlfriend — that Cassidy was violent, had alcohol issues and was sexually abusive, there was nothing in public information to point Cassidy ever obtained in hassle with the legislation, which means he seemingly was legally capable of receive a firearm.
Authorities have but to say whether or not that was the case or when Cassidy obtained the firearms. He acquired a visitors ticket in 2019 and sheriff’s officers stated they have been nonetheless investigating his background. His social media presence – if he had one – just isn’t obvious.
Indicators typically aren’t sufficient to cease a killer
Cohen famous the main points, from the accusations of violence to his prolonged vendetta in opposition to his office, sign Cassidy suits the everyday mass shooter profile.
He detailed the alcohol abuse, sexual violence, indicators of prolonged planning and built-up hatred are sometimes present in mass killers. However, he stated, there are many individuals throughout the U.S. who present related warning indicators and don’t commit mass homicide.
Cassidy, he stated, appeared to need to make an announcement in Wednesday’s assault and tried to make use of a number of components, from potential bomb-making supplies to a hearth, to make sure his rage was expressed.
“Clearly, he seemed to be experimenting with a few of these supplies,” Cohen stated. “We ought to be very grateful it wasn’t worse.”
Each Cohen and Davis, the previous Boston Police Commissioner, stated the case reminded them of the 2012 Aurora, Colo. movie show taking pictures. The gunman in that assault, which killed 12, tried to booby entice his house earlier than the taking pictures.
“If you deconstruct what occurred, you understand that there have been quite a lot of warning indicators with individuals like this,” Davis stated. The issue, although, is legislation enforcement comes into contact with many individuals who’ve related indicators.
“The problem is we reside in a free society. We can not merely take motion in opposition to somebody who’s displaying indicators that one thing may occur,” he added. “It is arduous as a result of a criminal offense has to occur earlier than an arrest. You possibly can’t at all times anticipate conduct.”
Contributing: Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; Angelica Cabral, The Salinas Californian, a part of the USA TODAY Community, who reported from San Jose