San Jose mass shooter Samuel Cassidy carried “a black memo book filled with lots of notes” about hating his place of work — and was questioned by federal agents years before the slaughter, according to a new report.
Cassidy was detained by Custom and Border Protection in August 2016 upon returning from a trip to the Philippines and was found with “books about terrorism and fear and manifestos,” along with his little black book, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
But when questioned, he denied he had any “problems with anybody at work,” according to a Department of Homeland Security memo reviewed by the outlet.
The DHS memo did not detail how long Cassidy was detained by agents, nor does it explain why he was stopped.
The Journal said the memo does note that Cassidy had a “minor criminal history” and cited a 1983 incident in which he was arrested in San Jose and charged with “misdemeanor obstruction/resisting a peace officer.”
Cassidy killed nine of his co-workers before turning the gun on himself Wednesday at a light rail facility owned by the Valley Transportation Authority, where he maintained substations. He had been employed there since at least 2012, according to public records.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith indicated in an interview with The Associated Press Thursday that the gunman targeted some of his victims while sparing others.
“It appears to us at this point that he said to one of the people there, ‘I’m not going to shoot you,’” Smith said. “And then he shot other people. So I imagine there was some kind of thought on who he wanted to shoot.”
Kirk Bertolet, a light rail signal maintainer, echoed that assessment in an interview with KGO, saying, “I do know that he had a specific agenda and was targeting certain people, he walked by people, let other people live as he gunned down other people.”
Cassidy’s ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms, told AP he had talked about killing people at work more than a decade ago. The couple divorced in 2005.
“I never believed him, and it never happened. Until now,” Nelms said Wednesday.
In 2009, a former girlfriend accused Cassidy of sexually assaulting and raping her, according to court documents obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. The woman described Cassidy as volatile and violent, with major mood swings because of bipolar disorder that became worse when he drank heavily.
Several times while he was drunk, the woman claimed, Cassidy forced himself on her sexually despite her refusals, pinning her arms with his body weight. The documents were reportedly filed in response to a request for a restraining order by Cassidy, and it is not clear how the matter was disposed of.
Cassidy’s most recent encounter with the law appears to have been in 2019, when he received a parking ticket.
A DHS spokesperson declined to comment to the Journal on the memo, citing the ongoing investigation.
With Post wires