San Jose mass shooting: Who was Samuel Cassidy? VTA employee, 57, set own house on fire before killing 8

'He had two sides. When he was in a good mood, he was a great guy. When he was mad, he was mad,' Samuel Cassidy's ex-wife Cecilia Nelms said

                            San Jose mass shooting: Who was Samuel Cassidy? VTA employee, 57, set own house on fire before killing 8
Investigators work the scene of a mass shooting at the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light-rail yard on May 26, 2021 in San Jose, California (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Getty Images)

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA: VTA employee Samuel Cassidy was identified as the gunman behind the San Jose mass shooting that left eight people dead on May 26, 2021. Before reportedly turning the gun on himself, the 57-year-old brutally gunned down his colleagues at the VTA light rail yard, most of whom knew him well. After Cassidy was implicated in the shooting, decade-old court documents showed that he allegedly raped his former girlfriend.

A suspected patient of bipolar disorder, Cassidy's mood swings took a violent turn whenever he consumed alcohol. He also had been extremely violent towards the ex-girlfriend during their relationship. "Several times during the relationship, he became intoxicated, enraged, and forced himself on me sexually. He also played several mind games, which he seems to enjoy,” the former girlfriend stated in court documents from over ten years ago, reported Daily Beast. In addition, Cassidy was also perceived as scary by his neighbors. 



San Jose mass shooting: Was suspect Samuel Cassidy mentally ill?

San Jose mass shooting: Samuel Cassidy allegedly raped ex-girlfriend

Was Samuel Cassidy a loner?

"He had two sides. When he was in a good mood, he was a great guy. When he was mad, he was mad," Cassidy's ex-wife Cecilia Nelms told The Mercury News. The couple separated in 2004 before officially divorcing in 2009. 

Cassidy's 88-year-old father James Edward Cassidy was shocked by the news as he insisted that his son "seemed completely himself” in the days prior to the shooting. He added, "He (Samuel) didn’t talk about his job or politics. I just found out he was dead and his house on fire and all that a minute ago."

Doug Suh, Cassidy's neighbor of five years, termed him as a 'loner'. Suh revealed that he and his wife have never had a positive interaction with Cassidy in all the time they have lived across the street from his house. Suh and his wife both admitted to feeling 'scared' of Cassidy and have avoided him as much as possible. On one occasion, Cassidy yelled at Suh while he was backing out of his driveway. When Suh's wife casually tried to say 'hello' to Cassidy at another time, he stared her down in a weird manner. 

Did Cassidy set his own house on fire?

A substation maintainer for the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Cassidy earned more than $114,000 in regular and overtime pay. According to 2019 public records, he also procured over $46,000 as additional benefits. 

According to CBS Local, he owned a three-bedroom home on the 1100 block of Angmar Ct, in the Ramblewood area of South San Jose. On May 26, 2021, Cassidy's house caught fire around the same time as the shooting. Apparently, it is being suspected that he set his own house on fire before leaving for the rail yard with a gun. 

Firefighters responded to the blaze around 6:36 am but did not find anyone at home. They encountered extremely heavy fire that took nearly an hour to douse. According to Los Angeles Times, the fire completely destroyed Cassidy's house and also inflicted some damage to the neighboring house. 

Investigators later recovered firearms, gasoline, and large amounts of ammunition from his home. "There’s a strange connection here between arson and the shooting,” stated San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

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