Samuel James Cassidy allegedly killed nine of his colleagues on May 26 in San Jose, and new updates show that it could have been prevented. Reports have come out that Samuel James Cassidy was detained five years ago by U.S. Customs and Border Protection where he showed signs of violence.
In 2016, officers stopped Cassidy on his way back into the United States, returning from the Philippines. Authorities found “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 [Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority].”
The Wall Street Journal obtained the memo regarding the encounter, which read, “When asked if he had problems with anybody at work, he stated ‘no.'” This report shows that Cassidy had been questioned about his behavior years before the mass shooting. An official from the Biden Administration confirmed the contents of the memo to the Associated Press.
Prior to the questioning at Customs, Cassidy was divorced by his ex-wife in 2004 over having an “explosive” temper. He then dated a woman in 2009 who ended the relationship after he allegedly pressured his girlfriend to have anal sex with him. According to the sexual assault victim, Cassidy tried to persuade her by purchasing tickets for a trip that she could only receive if she allowed him to fulfill his sexual fantasies with her. The victim’s name has not been released.
What has been documented in restraining orders and court reports is a pattern of violent behavior from Cassidy.
Years later, Samuel James Cassidy arrived at work with three automatic handguns and 11 magazines of ammunition. He shot and killed nine of his co-workers before committing suicide by shooting himself. The victims include Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Adrian Balleza, 29; Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Taptejdeep Singh, 36; and Timothy Michael Romo, 49.
According to witnesses and Sheriff Laurie Smith, Cassidy told at least one person in the office, “I’m not going to shoot you,” before shooting others. This has led authorities to believe that the shooting was a premeditated and meticulously planned attack, including a planned-out list of victims.
“Sam made sure he killed all who he wanted. He made sure they were dead,” co-worker Kirk Bertolet said. “I watched some of my coworkers breathe their last breaths, and they were all gone. Seven of them were just gone.”
In addition to reading literature on terrorism, Cassidy prepared for the attack by harboring weapons, bomb materials and even rigging his house to catch fire once he left to kill. The Sheriff of Santa Clara County confirmed that the fire was set to begin when Cassidy left for work at 5:39 AM. A slow burn device was responsible for destroying most evidence within the home, but Cassidy left bomb-making materials in his work locker untouched.
Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority went into lockdown after the locker was opened, and authorities did a sweep of the property to ensure that Cassidy hadn’t planned a second phase of the attack. People living in the area around Cassidy’s house were also asked to evacuate until it was confirmed an explosive wouldn’t go off in the fire.
Samuel James Cassidy’s actions match the behavior he showed in 2016 when stopped by Customs, and the families mourning their loved ones have expressed regret that Cassidy wasn’t caught then.
“We want all of our employees to know we are all grieving together, and we want to do everything we possibly can to support each other. If today or in the coming days you need to stop, talk with a coworker, take some quiet time, do it,” Hendricks, the VTA board chair, said. “Whatever your emotions, the pain, sorrow, anger, love, questions, these are all normal.”