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 residence to go up in an inferno as he got down to kill 9 fellow workers at a light-rail hub in San Jose.
While he plotted intricately for a mass attack, showing like a terrorist on a mission, his motive was a lot less complicated: He simply hated his co-workers.
That’s 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 towards the folks 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) gentle rail hub. The particulars clarify the suspect employed ways not routinely seen in mass shootings.
“It really stands out when you have an individual like this who goes to such extreme steps,” stated Ed Davis, a former commissioner for the Boston Police Department who helped lead the investigation into the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing. “You have people with these burdens of something that was done to them and they fixate on them and it ends up turning into a decade-long vendetta.”
Read concerning the victims:He tried to warn his co-workers, then he was shot: Loved ones mourn victims of shooting at San Jose rail yard
Exes say Cassidy had ‘two sides,’ talked about office violence
Long earlier than Wednesday’s attack, Cassidy ranted about his job and associates — 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, informed The Mercury News Cassidy had “two sides.”
She stated he typically was indignant at co-workers and about his assignments at work. She informed 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.
‘What the hell is fallacious with us’: California Gov. Gavin Newsom asks after the San Jose shooting
“He had two sides,” Nelms informed The Mercury News. “When he was in a good mood he was a great guy. When he was mad, he was mad.”
She informed the Associated Press he’d “dwell on things” and had talked about killing folks at work greater than a decade in the past.
“I never believed him, and it never happened. Until now,” Nelms stated via tears.
Another lady who dated Cassidy accused him in court docket paperwork in 2009 of rape and sexual assault. The submitting, obtained by The Mercury News, additionally consists of 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 discuss to others and appeared unfriendly.
Doug Suh, who lives throughout the road from Cassidy, informed USA TODAY Cassidy had lived within the space for 20 years however regardless of his roots there, by no means needed something to do along with his neighbors. He stated he’d tried to speak with Cassidy a number of occasions, saying good day and providing different pleasantries, however wouldn’t get a lot of a response.
“Every time I say hi, he’s ignored me,” Suh stated. “I was surprised though…I didn’t think he was going to … kill people like that.”
Suh added to The Mercury News, Cassidy was “lonely” and “strange.” He never appeared to have visitors.
Once, Cassidy yelled at him to stay away as he was backing up his car. “After that, I never talked to him again,” Suh told the newspaper.
Signs of preparation 5 years ago
In 2016 — five years before the mass attack — Cassidy was stopped on a trip back from the Philippines by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
A Department of Homeland Security memo from the stop, which was obtained by The Wall Street Journal, includes that an officer found Cassidy had “books about terrorism and fear and manifestos … as well as a black memo book filled with lots of notes about how he hates the VTA.”
A Biden administration official said he saw the memo and confirmed its contents to The Associated Press.
The memo doesn’t say why Cassidy was stopped after his 2016 trip. It notes the gunman had a “minor criminal history” and cites a 1983 incident where he was arrested in San Jose and charged with “misdemeanor obstruction/resisting a peace officer.”
A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment on the memo to USA TODAY. The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation into the shooting, did not respond to repeated questions about whether they were notified about the 2016 stop or investigated Cassidy afterward.
Gunman targeted victims, set timer to set his home on fire
Cassidy left his home around 5:39 a.m., armed with a duffel bag and what experts say was a plan to never return.
Before he left, he set a timer or slow-burn device to set his two-story on fire, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said. The fire was reported minutes after the first 911 calls came in about the shooting at the rail facility.
Footage captured by news helicopters showed law enforcement sifting through debris in the backyard of the beige home throughout Wednesday afternoon. The back of the home appeared to have the most visible damage with the roof charred and debris thrown in the yard.
“Everyone of these killers are different but it’s clear he wanted to express his rage on others but also wanted to destroy himself — and that included his home,” said Dr. Ziv Cohen, a forensic and clinical psychiatrist who consults on murder cases and serves as an expert witness in criminal trials.
Cohen noted it’s possible the suspect may have been attempting to destroy evidence, but it was clear he didn’t plan to return. “I don’t really think I remember a specific example like this one where a person destroyed their home,” he said.
Cassidy fired 39 shots during his rampage through two buildings at the sprawling VTA hub and appeared to target some of the victims, Smith told the Associated Press in an interview.
Smith said the shooter told at least one person: “I’m not going to shoot you” in the course of the attack. The gunman then shot different folks earlier than he shot himself as deputies closed in.
Timeline of the attack:Officers rushed into San Jose rail yard as gunshots were still 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 realm and bomb technicians to comb the massive complicated.
Smith informed NBC’s “Today” Cassidy’s locker had “materials for bombs, detonator cords, the precursors to an explosive,” Smith stated.
The Sheriff’s Office informed The Mercury News 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 further ammunition.
In California, it’s unlawful to purchase magazines that maintain greater than 10 rounds. However, 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.
Despite 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 acquired in bother with the legislation, that means he doubtless was legally capable of get hold of a firearm.
Authorities have but to say whether or not that was the case or when Cassidy obtained the firearms. He obtained a site 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.
Signals typically aren’t sufficient to cease a killer
Cohen famous the main points, from the accusations of violence to his prolonged vendetta towards his office, sign Cassidy suits the standard mass shooter profile.
He detailed the alcohol abuse, sexual violence, indicators of prolonged planning and built-up hatred are sometimes present in mass killers. But, he stated, there are many folks throughout the U.S. who present related warning indicators and don’t commit mass homicide.
Cassidy, he stated, appeared to wish to make a press release in Wednesday’s attack 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 appeared to be experimenting with some of these materials,” Cohen stated. “We should be very thankful it wasn’t worse.”
Both Cohen and Davis, the previous Boston Police Commissioner, stated the case reminded them of the 2012 Aurora, Colo. movie show shooting. The gunman in that attack, which killed 12, tried to booby entice his residence earlier than the shooting.
“When you deconstruct what happened, you realize that there were a lot of warning signs with people like this,” Davis stated. The downside, although, is legislation enforcement comes into contact with many individuals who’ve related indicators.
“The challenge is we live in a free society. We cannot simply take action against someone who is showing indicators that something might happen,” he added. “It’s hard because a crime has to happen before an arrest. You can’t always anticipate behavior.”
Contributing: Grace Hauck, USA TODAY; Angelica Cabral, The Salinas Californian, a part of the USA TODAY Network, who reported from San Jose