Sheriff: California Rail Yard Shooter Stockpiled Guns, Ammo at His Home

The gunman who killed nine of his co-workers at a California rail yard had stockpiled weapons and 25,000 rounds of ammunition at his house before setting it on fire to coincide with the bloodshed at the workplace he seethed about for years, authorities said Friday.Investigators found 12 guns, multiple cans of gasoline and suspected Molotov cocktails at Samuel James Cassidy’s house in San Jose, the Santa Clara County sheriff’s office said in a news release.He also rigged an unusual time-delay method to ensure the house caught fire while he was out, putting “ammunition in a cooking pot on a stove” in his home, Deputy Russell Davis told The Associated Press. The liquid in the pot — investigators don’t yet know what was inside — reached a boiling point, igniting an accelerant and potentially the gunpowder in the bullets nearby.The cache at the home the 57-year-old torched was on top of the three 9 mm handguns he brought Wednesday to the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, authorities said. He also had 32 high-capacity magazines and fired 39 shots.Handguns were registeredThe handguns found at the site were legally registered to Cassidy, Davis said, without elaborating on how he obtained them. Davis did not specify what type of guns officers found at his home, nor if they were legally owned.Authorities described a home filled with clutter, with items piled up to the point where it appeared Cassidy might be a hoarder, and weapons stored near the home’s doorways and in other spots.Sgt. Joe Piazza told reporters the variety of spots where Cassidy stashed the guns might be so he could “access them in a time of emergency,” such as if law enforcement came to his house.This photo provided by the Santa Clara County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office shows guns and ammunition magazines found at the residence of Samuel Cassidy, the suspect in the May 26, 2021, shooting at a San Jose rail station.Cassidy killed himself as sheriff’s deputies rushed into the rail yard complex in the heart of Silicon Valley, where he fatally shot nine men ranging in age from 29 to 63. He had worked there for more than 20 years.What prompted the bloodshed remains under investigation, officials said.While witnesses and Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith have said Cassidy appeared to target certain people, the sheriff’s office said Friday that “it is clear that this was a planned event and the suspect was prepared to use his firearms to take as many lives as he possibly could.”Bipolar disorderCasssidy’s elderly father, James, told the Mercury News in San Jose that his son was bipolar. He said that was no excuse for the shooting and apologized to the victims’ families.“I don’t think anything I could say could ease their grief,” he said. “I’m really, really very sorry about that.”Neighbors and former lovers described him as moody, unfriendly and prone to angry outbursts at times. But they expressed shock he would kill.Stephanie Jayne, right, hugs a friend at a vigil at City Hall in San Jose, Calif., May 27, 2021, in honor of the multiple people killed when a gunman opened fire at a rail yard the day before.Cassidy’s ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, said he had talked about killing people at work more than a decade ago. She described him as resentful and angry about what he perceived as unfair assignments.U.S. customs officers even caught him in 2016 with books about terrorism and fear as well as a memo book filled with notes about how much he hated the Valley Transportation Authority. But he was let go, and a resulting Department of Homeland Security memo on the encounter was not shared with local authorities.It’s not clear why customs officers detained Cassidy on his return from the Philippines. The contents of the memo, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, were described to The Associated Press by a Biden administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.’Minor criminal history’The memo notes that Cassidy was asked whether he had issues with people at work, and he said no. It refers to a “minor criminal history,” citing a 1983 arrest in San Jose and charges of “misdemeanor obstruction/resisting a peace officer.”San Jose police said they sought an FBI history on Cassidy and found no record of federal arrests or convictions.Mayor Sam Liccardo, a former prosecutor, said that while he has not seen the Homeland Security memo, it’s not a crime to hate your job.“The question is: How specific was that information?” he said. “Particularly, were there statements made suggesting a desire to commit violence against individuals?”The president of the union that represents transit workers at the rail yard sought Friday to refute a report that Cassidy was scheduled to attend a workplace disciplinary hearing with a union representative Wednesday over racist comments.John Courtney, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 265, said in a statement that he was at the facility “simply to check on working conditions and the continual safety of the dedicated men and women who work there.”The attack came amid an uptick in mass shootings following coronavirus shutdowns in much of the country last year. Since 2006, there have been at least 14 workplace massacres in the United States that killed at least four people and stemmed from employment grievances, according to a database on mass killings maintained by the AP, USA Today and Northeastern University.

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