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San Jose VTA gunman faced work disciplinary hearing on day of attack over racist remarks

Samuel James Cassidy
Samuel James Cassidy San Jose shooter faced work disciplinary hearing on day of mass shooting.
Samuel James Cassidy
Samuel James Cassidy San Jose shooter faced work disciplinary hearing on day of mass shooting.

Samuel James Cassidy San Jose shooter faced work disciplinary hearing on day of mass shooting. Outsider targeted certain co workers as he arrived to work with 3 handguns.

The San Jose VTA light rail mass shooter who gunned down eight fellow co workers before fatally shooting himself had been set to attend a work disciplinary hearing for alleged racist comments he made on the day he went on his rampage. 

Samuel James Cassidy, who California authorities say killed nine co-workers early Wednesday in two buildings at the Valley Transportation Authority light-rail facility, was the subject of recent complaints by colleagues who claimed he made inappropriate racial remarks on the job as a station maintenance worker, NBC Bay Area reported, citing law enforcement sources.

The specific nature of the alleged remarks was not disclosed KPIX5 reported. The worker faced disciplinary action and potentially being fired. 

Cassidy also told fellow VTA employees that he had guns and explosives, sources close to the ongoing investigation told NBC Bay Area.

It’s unclear if authorities were aware of those allegations and whether they were to be discussed at the disciplinary hearing scheduled for Cassidy later Wednesday, according to the report.

‘I’m not going to shoot you.’

Santa Clara Sheriff Laurie Smith said investigators were still working to determine a possible motive in the mass shooting, during which the ‘disgruntled worker’ who had an axe to grind with certain workers, entered the facility armed with semi-automatic handguns and high-capacity magazines.

Smith told Associated Press that Cassidy appeared to pick his targets, telling at least one person, ‘I’m not going to shoot you.’

Sheriff’s officials described Cassidy in a statement released late Thursday as a ‘highly disgruntled’ VTA employee for many years, which could have factored into his attack. He had been employed there since at least 2012, public records show.

‘The investigation into motive remains ongoing and no additional information is available at this time,’ the statement read.

The revelation follows comments the shooter’s former wife, Cecilia Nelms, 64, made in which during their ten year marriage which ended in 2009, the former spouse said Cassidy had often spoken about his dislike and contempt for fellow workers.

Cecilia Nelms said Cassidy used to come home from work resentful and angry over what he perceived as unfair assignments and his desire to shoot colleagues dead.

Detectives were continuing to conduct interviews and review video and cellphone evidence to determine Cassidy’s motive, sheriff officials said.

‘It was very personal. It was very targeted.’ 

One VTA worker told the Associated Press that Cassidy was an ‘outsider’ who kept to himself at the facility and appeared to target specific colleagues.

‘I understand what pushed him,’ said Kirk Bertolet, 64, who initially barricaded in his office as the gunfire erupted. ‘Sam was always on the outside. He was never in the group. He was never accepted by anybody. You look back and you go, ‘Yeah, it fits.’’

Bertolet said Cassidy was ‘pissed off’ at certain co-workers.

‘He was angry, and he took his vengeance out on very specific people,” Bertolet said. ‘He shot people. He let others live … It was very personal. Very targeted.’

According to reports, Cassidy shot at total of 39 bullets, the last one at himself.

Sheriff’s officials said the three 9 mm handguns Cassidy brought to the rail yard appear to be legal. Authorities do not yet know how he obtained them.

San Jose shooting victims identified
San Jose shooting victims identified.

Carried personal memo detailing hatred of workplace

He also had 32 high-capacity magazines, some with 12 rounds. In California, it is illegal to buy magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. However, if Cassidy obtained them before Jan. 1, 2000, he would have been allowed to have them unless he was otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms.

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

Cassidy also had a black memo book packed with ‘lots of notes’ detailing his hatred of his workplace, according to a Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by the Wall Street Journal.

Cassidy had the book with him when Customs and Border Protection officials detained him in 2016 upon returning from the Philippines. But he denied having ‘problems with anybody at work’ at the time, according to the report.