California Rail Yard Shooting
In this image from body-camera footage provided by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, deputies approach a set of doors with their weapons drawn inside a building at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus and rail yard after hearing shots fired from beyond the doors, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in San Jose, Calif. The newly released footage shows that a gunman who killed nine co-workers at the facility shot himself twice in the head as sheriff’s deputies raced into the building. A face, background right, has been blurred by the source. (Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office via AP)
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The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office has released bodycam video of the team of officers who entered the San Jose railyard facility last week in response to reports of an active shooting. Samuel Cassidy, a railyard employee, murdered nine coworkers before killing himself as police closed in on him.

Note that unlike the Broward County Sheriff’s Department officers who formed a perimeter around Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School while the killer there continued to murder teachers and students inside, the Santa Clara responders followed protocols that have been accepted practice for dealing with mass shooting incidents since the Columbine shooting in 1999. Namely, they formed up and immediately entered the facility in order to engage the shooter and save as many lives as possible.

From the Associated Press . . .

A gunman who killed nine co-workers at a Northern California rail yard shot himself twice in the head as sheriff’s deputies raced into a building, according to authorities who on Tuesday released body-camera footage of the tense encounter.

The nearly 4 1/2 minutes of footage is from one deputy who arrived minutes after the first shooting reports and while shots were still being fired at the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus and rail yard in San Jose, where 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy opened fire before killing himself.


A “contact team” of deputies and San Jose police officers was immediately formed to find the gunman, who was reported to be inside a building and armed with a handgun. The body camera footage shows the team cautiously climbing stairs to the third floor, where a VTA supervisor comes out with arms raised and hands over his keycard so officers can get inside the building.

The five-member team then sweeps into the building, guns raised, using gun-mounted flashlights as they pass through rooms and corridors to a dispatch center.

Within minutes, they hear a gunshot, then another, followed by two more. As they come to another door, one of the team looks through a small window and says: “I’ve got somebody down” inside. The team opens the door and somebody shouts “Let me see your hands!”

What might be two more shots are heard.

The footage shows a man slumped in a chair near a stairwell with a gun in his hand. He is across from a dispatch center door with a window shattered by gunfire.

The gunman had shot himself under the chin then put the gun to the side of his head, the sheriff said.

It wasn’t clear whether Cassidy knew that law enforcement officers were closing in on him or not, but he may have seen their flashlights and heard them yelling to each other as they determined where the shooter and victims were as they moved through the building, Smith said.

Smith said her office used an active shooter protocol advocated by a lieutenant who had been in Colorado during the 1999 Columbine school mass shooting there. Smith said law enforcement had been training together.

The deputies and officers “hardly spoke a word to each other” when they entered the building because “they knew what their job was,” she said, adding that they showed extraordinary courage.

“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,” she said.

A VTA spokeswoman told the Mercury News in San Jose that it may take weeks or months to resume service on the commuter rail line. The Guadalupe Yard operates as the nerve center of the light rail network and is now a crime scene under sheriff’s department control. Spokeswoman Stacey Hendler Ross said the agency is focused on supporting traumatized workers who lost colleagues.

The sheriff said investigators were still trying to determine the motive for the shootings, although acquaintances and his ex-wife said Cassidy had talked about hating his job at least a decade ago and had an angry and unpredictable streak.

“We’re beginning to piece things together. But we’ve talked with hundreds of witnesses,” Smith said.

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  1. I get the impression that the only way to get this video was through the associated press? But then, its on youtube.

    • Prndll,

      I am hoping that the video stays available on YouTube. I want to be able to reference it for educational and training purposes.

      Of particular note:

      Even when police do the right the thing and promptly “storm the castle”, it still took them two minutes to just get to an entry door of the building.

      Then, because the building had card-access doors, they still needed to find a way to get inside. And even with an employee promptly appearing and providing his card-key, it was another 30 seconds before the police actually entered the building and began searching.

      Those two FACTS are not in any way, shape, or form a criticism of the police response in that case. (I would argue that their response was pretty good.) Rather, those facts demonstrate that you should figure it will take police at least 2 minutes to begin searching a building/campus for an active spree killer once they arrive on scene.

      Now, add the fact that it would probably take victims on site at least 30 seconds to recognize that a spree killer was active and call 911. Then add another 30 seconds for the 911 dispatcher to discern the information and dispatch police. Finally, add at least another 2 minutes for police to arrive on scene.

      The final result: at the absolute best a spree killer can operate without any concern of a police response for at least four minutes and probably closer to six minutes–and that only applies at some urban/suburban location where police would already be near that location. You could likely add several more minutes at other more remote locations.

  2. Shot himself under the chin then put the gun to the side of his head.
    Still enough brain matter to ambulate, it seems. Good on LE for actively working to protect the employees.

    • “Shot himself under the chin then put the gun to the side of his head.”

      Blame Hollywood for that.

      Under the chin is only reliable for blowing your face off…

    • First shot probably missed brain matter entirely. Still conscious and realizing he’s not dead yet, he tried again.

      Pity the first one didn’t knock him out, so he’d end up on death row with a disfigured face and the embarassment of being a failed suicide.

      • I’m happy we don’t have to pay his undoubted high immediate and ongoing medical costs.

  3. “The most determined case of suicide I ever saw”
    Now where have I heard that line before?

  4. Kudos to the responding Officers for their prompt and professional actions.

    Shot himself…twice…in the head. Scumbag was a stinking skidstain on the underwear of Life.

    So much better if these angry, violent people would shorten their process to just offing themselves and leaving the innocents out of the equation.

  5. “…shot himself twice in the head…”

    Should’ve brought a bigger gun, especially with ammo prices as they are.

    • People have survived despite using shotguns under the chin, which always surprises me. I would think the pressure itself would be fatal. But sometimes they just end up looking like a horror monster.

  6. Of course nobody there deserved what happened to them. And of course they should have been able to defend themselves and not have to wait for state approved men with guns.

    But maybe people should take a look at the workplace and the other employees and see what made this guy so angry. There are people who are mentally broken, and have many red flags (no pun intended) ufor years. But then there are also people like this that held a job, had a marriage at one point, and had a relatively normal life up until this. I’ve seen people get tormented and I have warned people “You need to leave X alone, or one day he may shoot you.”

    • “But maybe people should take a look at the workplace and the other employees and see what made this guy so angry.”

      As the old saying goes, if the only people you know are a-holes, *you’re* the a-hole…

  7. Can someone explain to me why when murderous filth gets confronted by armed responders, they suddenly feel the urge to blow their brains out? It’s like the second they see a cop, the fight flies right out of them

    • They think that there is no after life and that once they die it’s over with. They do not recognize heaven or hell. He definitely learned. I think that many of these “people” that we believe are insane are in fact just pure evil. When I had a job that I didn’t like, I found another.

    • The do this because this is their intended final act all along. Their lives are effectively over after what they have done. They do not want to run the risk of not dying when shot by the police. Suicide is the only way to be sure.

      Which if course demonstrates why it is so necessary to get an armed response to the location of the shooter as quickly as possible in these types of events.

      • I just can’t help but think that since so many of these people have clearly acted on a longstanding revenge fantasy, that they’d also be deluded enough to think that they could have their last stand against the cops.

      • Do you think the leftists will embark on a hydraulic works program?

        A canal from the great lakes to Seattle, dug only with hand tools and “volunteer” labor? Another canal from the great lakes to the Mississippi river? And third across Florida? Why? Why not! Canal building is a thing for Socialists and Communists since the White Sea Canal (the one too shallow for most of the traffic). Look at China’s canal building program that dwarfs anything done by the USSR.

    • I recall that at a mall shooting in Tacoma an armed citizen confronted the shooter and took a bullet, but the shooter then retreated to an access hallway and shot himself.

      It may not be the police so much as ANY armed resistance that ends the event. Either by proper shot placement or suicide.,,

  8. This is probably the gold standard for LE active shooter response today, and it’s still not enough to prevent most of the killing. The actual shooting was over in seconds.

    There is no LE response that can outrun an armed victim.

  9. Dam gun, in a gun-free zone killed people!!! Need bigger signs!

  10. That was chilling. The officers were very brave. Kudos for their professional response.

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