San Jose, CA – The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office (SCCSO) has released bodycam footage showing the police response to the active shooter incident that took place at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) last week (video below).
Nine VTA employees were killed in the May 26 attack.
The gunman, 57-year-old VTA employee Samuel Cassidy, shot himself in the head as deputies made contact with him inside the building, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said during a press conference, according to the Associated Press.
“When our deputies went through the door, initially he was still firing rounds,” Sheriff Smith said. “When our deputy saw him, he took his life.”
The SCCSO released more than four minutes of bodycam footage on Tuesday showing deputies and San Jose police responding to the active shooter call at the VTA bus and rail yard.
The video showed the contact team as it made its way across the grounds and up a series out outside stairs to the third-floor level of the facility, where a VTA supervisor gave them access to the building and handed over his key card for interior doors.
The team was clearing an office area when multiple gunshots rang out.
“Okay, I’ve got somebody down in front of me,” one officer noted as they looked through the window of a closed door.
They threw the door open and ordered someone on the other side to show his hands just as two more loud bangs sounded.
The team moved in towards the man, who was slumped over in a chair.
“I see the gun in his hand right there!” one officer alerted.
Sheriff Smith later said the gunman shot himself under his chin and in the side of his head as the team had been approaching, WLNS reported.
While officers moved in to secure the man’s weapon, another officer looked through the shattered window of another office, where a victim’s body could be seen lying on the floor, the video showed.
“Hey! Can you hear me?” the officer yelled, just before the clip ended.
Sheriff Smith said the contact team utilized an active shooter protocol they had been trained on extensively, WLNS reported.
She noted they “hardly spoke a word to each other” during the operation because “they knew what their job was,” according to the news outlet.
“There were over 100 VTA employees on site that morning, and I believe the bravery of all of law enforcement personnel really prevented the loss of additional life,” Sheriff Smith told WLNS.
The attack took place in two separate VTA buildings, according to the Associated Press.
“[Cassidy] went from building to building,” killing his coworkers, Sheriff Smith said, according to NBC News. “He was very deliberate. Very fast.”
The shooter was armed with two semiautomatic handguns and was carrying 11 loaded magazines, police said.
The victims who died in the attack have been identified by the Santa Clara County Office of the Medical Examiner-Coroner as Lars Kepler Lane, 63, Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63, Michael Rudometkin, 40, Timothy Romo, 49, Jose Dejesus Hernandez, 35, Adrian Balleza, 29, Taptejdeep Singh, 36, Paul Delacruz Megia, 42, and Alex Ward Fritch, 49, the Associated Press reported.
Investigators also received information about possible explosive devices inside the VTA building and responded by “clearing out every room and every crevice” to ensure first responders’ safety on the scene, SCCSO Public Information Officer Deputy Russell Davis said.
Sheriff Smith said explosive-detecting K-9s alerted on the possible explosives.
The SCSO later confirmed investigators recovered “several possible suspicious devices” at the scene, as well as “precursors to an explosive” located inside the gunman’s locker, NBC News reported.
Police said a fire was ignited at the shooter’s two-story home prior to the attack at the VTA 10 miles away, NBC News reported.
Firefighters responded to the scene and found the residence engulfed in flames.
They said they smelled an accelerant when they arrived, NBC News reported.
Investigators said they also believe Cassidy had more ammunition inside the house.
Sheriff Smith said investigators have spoken with “hundreds of witnesses” so far and are still working to “piece things together, according to WLNS.
Police have not released a possible motive for the attack, but the gunman’s ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, said Cassidy had talked about killing people at his workplace years earlier, the Associated Press reported.
“I never believed him, and it never happened,” Nelms said. “Until now.”
She said she and Cassidy were married for about a decade before they divorced in 2005 and that they haven’t spoken in the past 13 years, the Associated Press reported.
When they were together, would often come home from work angry and resentful, dwelling on what he believed were unfair job assignments, she said.
The gunman worked for the VTA since at least 2012, holding positions as a mechanic and as a worker maintaining substations, the Associated Press reported.
New video Boilerplate: Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning – Graphic Content: