video can be viewed Here.
In a chilling four-minute body camera video, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office takes viewers through that five-person, “first contact team” encounter.
A sheriff’s deputy, a sheriff’s sergeant and three San Jose police officers form a team of first responders who were on a mission to locate and stop the active shooter at the VTA Rail Yard. The gunman would later be identified as Samuel Cassidy.
In the video, the team arrives on the third floor of “Building A” when a VTA employee is opening a door and addressing them.
“Raise your hand,” shouts one officer.
The VTA employee hands over his key card. It becomes a lifeline, giving first responders the all-important access inside the building.
“As the liaison team is moving past that dispatch center, a shot is heard,” Lieutenant Aaron Simonson with the Sheriff’s Office described during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The sound of gunshots is heard in the video. Someone on the team says, “Oh s**t!”
The team of five then follows the sound of gunfire in search of the gunman.
Moments later, two more gunshots could be heard in the video of the body-worn camera. After a while, the team enters the room where Cassidy’s body is. Video edited by the sheriff’s office showed the shooter’s body blurred in the distance.
At this point during that fateful morning, Cassidy had already shot and killed several of his coworkers in a different building – “Building B”.
Before the law enforcement team arrived at the scene, surveillance footage showed Cassidy calmly moving towards Building A. There, he murdered himself and co-workers, then shot himself twice.
“Oh, the gun,” one respondent is heard saying. “I see the gun in his hand right there!”
Lt. Simonson explained, “At 6:44:51, the liaison team sees a gun in the hand of the injured person. The liaison team has to make sure the person below is still not in danger.”
More than 100 VTA workers were on site that morning.
Sheriff Laurie Smith credits the liaison team, the rescue task force, and the bravery of all responders in preventing more deaths that day.
His work was part of an active shooter protocol—a policy that involves all law enforcement training working together and together.
“It was swung into action by the sheriff’s office and San Jose police officers, who hardly spoke a word to each other,” Sheriff Smith said. “They knew what their job was. They did their job and actually faced the suspect who took his own life.”
Cassidy shot and killed nine. Some victims praised the effort to save others.
“We will never forget the innocent victims whose lives were taken by a mad coward,” the sheriff told reporters.
When asked about a possible motive, Sheriff Smith said that part of the investigation is still ongoing.
The sheriff’s office said Cassidy first shot himself under his chin. He said the fatal bullet had hit the side of his head.
The last gunshot was probably the one that took the suspect’s life when he died by suicide.
Soon after the bodycam video became public, the coroner released a report stating that Cassidy’s cause of death was “multiple bullet wounds to the head”.
“Although rare, it can occur in suicides in which the first shot to the head was not immediately fatal,” the coroner said.
Earlier on Tuesday, VTA officials announced that light-rail service would be closed to give transit workers a chance to mourn the loss of their co-workers.
VTA spokeswoman Stacy Hendler Ross said: “We’re asking our passengers to please be patient and we’re trying to do as hard as we can to get them where they need to go.” Huh.”
While the community continues to grieve, some wonder if the tragedy could have been prevented.
State Senator Dave Cortes, representing San Jose, is calling for expansion and reform of California’s Red Flag laws to prevent gun violence and mass shootings.
“Ensuring that every Californian understands that that equipment is available to them, that they can intervene, that they can let the appropriate authorities or authorities know when they learn that something is wrong with someone, Without stigmatizing anyone, without breaching privacy,” Cortes explained.
A fund has been set up by Working Partnerships USA and South Bay Labor Council to help provide support to the families of the victims.
Maria Noel Fernandez said, “We want to make sure they’re not worried about how to put food on the table, or they’re not worried about how to pay their rent, and those things are who belong as a community.” .
“We have to step up and continue to support these families and families like them.”
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