SAN Jose light railway gunman Samuel Cassidy appeared specifically targeted his victims during his sickening rampage while allowing others to live, a witness has revealed.
Cassidy, 57, callously gunned down nine of his colleagues at two Santa Clara Valley Transportation buildings on Wednesday morning before taking his own life as law enforcement moved in.
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Rail signal maintainer Kirk Bertolet, who has worked for the VTA for 12 years, disclosed to KGO that he was in the office next to the break room where workers had gathered for a shift change when the shooting started.
"It was just several bursts, it was series of shots, then another series of shots and another series of shots," he said.
Bertolet, an Air Force veteran, said Cassidy did not fire indiscriminately.
"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."
The mechanic said he heard Cassidy leave the building, where he then headed to the rail yard's control center.
"I saw a couple of people as I walked in and then I just saw a mass of bodies," Bertolet said.
"And I went to check to see if anybody was alive, if I could do anything for anybody, and watch people take their last breath."
Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith also appeared to suggest that Cassidy picked and chose who he was going to slaughter and who he was going to let live.
During the rampage, Smith said Cassidy told a union worker "I'm not going to shoot you."
The Union worker did not work for VTA.
Bertolet, meanwhile, said he was shocked when he found out Cassidy was responsible for the massacre.
"I was shocked to find out who it was myself, I've had a good relationship with him, been cordial," he told the network.
Bertolet theorized that Cassidy snapped because of the way he may have been treated at work.
He described the atmosphere at the VTA yard as sometimes "brutal", because of its "hardcore blue-collar" union environment.
While a motive remains unclear, police and those close to Cassidy have painted him as a disgruntled employee.
In 2016, Cassidy was found with a memo book filled with notes of hatred toward VTA after US Customs and Border Protection officers searched his bags as he returned from a trip in the Philippines, a DHS official told CNN.
In a news release on Thursday, the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office, citing recent developments, said: "The suspect has been a highly disgruntled VTA employee for many years, which may have contributed to why he targeted VTA employees."
Cassidy's ex-wife, Cecilia Nelms also revealed yesterday that Cassidy resented his work and often spoke hatefully of his co-workers.
Nelms was married to Cassidy for about 10 years until the couple filed for divorce in 2005. She said the pair hadn't spoken for more than a decade before the shooting.
A friend of one of the victims also told The Sun that Cassidy, who they described as a "gun nut", had previously told his colleagues he was "going to kill everybody in this place."
The source, a close friend of slain substation maintainer Jose Hernandez III, said the 35-year-old had told him of Cassidy's "constant threats" but took no action.
Speaking at a vigil for the victims on Thursday evening, Joe Bennetti, 35, said: “That guy [Cassidy] has been saying that s*** for months, and they [his co-workers] reported it.
“Jose and that guy didn’t get along because that guy was constantly making threats," Bennetti said.
“They reported it to management and management didn’t want to do anything for fear of inciting him, so they just kind of brushed it off until this dude came in and did it. That’s the conversation Jose had with me.
“That was like in March, he didn’t mention him by name but he said there was a guy who was saying all this crazy stuff and he had mental problems and all these guns.
“I was like ‘Dude, you’ve got to tell somebody’ and he said ‘We tell them'," Bennetti continued.
“Once they figured out it was a guy on Jose’s team that did the shooting I realized it was the guy he had told me about.
“He [Cassidy] made the threat of doing what he did. He was like ‘I’m going to kill everybody in this place’ and he was a big gun nut.
"Jose told me Cassidy would openly boast about how he was into guns."
On the morning of the mass shooting, Cassidy set fire to his home before driving to the VTA yard and claiming the lives of nine victims and then finally taking his own.
The rampage began at around 6.37 am, as employees from the midnight shift and the day shift overlapped.
Armed with three handguns and 11 magazines of ammo, Cassidy shot people inside two different buildings at the rail yard.
In total he fired 39 rounds, police said.
Deputies and other law enforcement officers arrived as the shooting continued.
Officers confronted the gunman on the third floor of the VTA building by 6.43am.
Cassidy then took his own life in front of the officers, police said.
Investigators later found ammunition, Molotov cocktails and other explosive-making materials at Cassidy's home.
No explosives were found in his locker as authorities initially feared.
Cassidy's victims ranged in age from 29 to 63 and all were employed by VTA.
The victims were named as Abdolvahab Alaghmandan, 63; Adrian Balleza, 29; Alex Ward Fritch, 49; Jose Dejesus Hernandez III, 35; Lars Kepler Lane, 63; Paul Delacruz Megia, 42; Timothy Michael Romo, 49; Michael Joseph Rudometkin, 40; and Taptejdeep Singh, 36.
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