Authorities found a small arsenal inside VTA shooter Samuel Cassidy’s home: a dozen firearms, 25,000 rounds of ammunition and a dozen Molotov cocktails.
The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department revealed weaponry they found as law enforcement agencies concluded three days of searching the charred Angmar Court home, which caught fire from a makeshift time-delayed device Cassidy left before he went on shooting rampage Wednesday morning.
Friday, bomb technicians detonated a bundle of batteries and wires on the off-chance that it might be explosive. It wasn’t.
Soon after, the sheriff’s office released a list of Cassidy’s weapons cache. That entailed more than a dozen Molotov cocktails — improvised incendiary devices — a dozen firearms including handguns, shotguns and rifles — and more than 25,000 rounds of ammunition.
Deputy Russell Davis also formally affirmed the suspicion that Cassidy set his Angmar Court home on fire early Wednesday morning, but did so with a contraption that ensured the fire only captured neighbors’ attention long after he had left to carry out the Bay Area’s deadliest mass shooting, gunning down nine of his coworkers at a Valley Transportation Authority railyard before fatally shooting himself as a deputy and police officers closed in.
“He put a pot full of bullets on the stove, then placed accelerant around the stove, to set the house on fire,” Davis said.
The arrangement created a time-delay effect that ensured the fire wasn’t noticeable enough to be reported until a few minutes after the Wednesday morning shootings.
The sheriff’s office, which searched Cassidy’s home along with San Jose police, the FBI, ATF and San Jose Fire Department on hand, also found that his guns and ammo were “strategically placed around the dwelling, giving him quick access to deadly force wherever he was inside the house.
But before they could all clear the scene and give the neighborhood back to its residents, around noon Friday bomb techs had to deal with the batteries-and-wires rig, which they safely detonated on the grounds. It turned out to be inert.
And the startling cache of weapons recovered from Cassidy’s home, added to the three handguns and 32 loaded illegal “high-capacity” magazines he was carrying at the shooting site, have convinced authorities that the attack, and his attempt to burn his tracks, were long in the works.
On Thursday, FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair said the fire significantly hindered the recovery of evidence like computers and other materials that might have shed light on precisely why Cassidy carried out the shooting and how long he had planned it.
The detonation Friday was also the latest in a series of bomb scares that authorities responded to in the wake of the shooting. In the immediate aftermath, the sheriff’s office said a bomb-sniffing dog caught a hint of possible explosive materials in Cassidy’s VTA locker, a suspicion exacerbated by wires that bomb techs thought might be detonating wire.
Sheriff’s officials said Thursday that no explosives were found, and that the wires and other items in Cassidy’s locker they initially thought might be bomb parts were deemed not to be dangerous.
Later that day, as investigators began their examination of Cassidy’s home, media members and nearby residents were abruptly pushed back to a one-block radius because of what police on scene said was an explosives risk.
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