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California shooter an employer’s worst nightmare

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International Business Times, May 2021

A disgruntled, heavily-armed employee shows up at work and murders nine of his colleagues: this week’s carnage at a California rail yard is every American employer’s worst nightmare come true. Samuel Cassidy, a 57-year-old white man, fired around 40 shots Wednesday at the public transport rail yard where he worked as a maintenance man in San Jose, California. He was not the first US employee to commit mass murder at work, and in a country awash with guns he is unlikely to be the last.

From 1970 to 1990, employees or ex-employees of the US Postal System alone killed around 40 people in a series of shooting at mail facilities. Americans invented the term “going postal” to describe spasms of violence in the workplace.

The coronavirus pandemic provided a pause in this violence. But as many companies reopened, with this came a return of shootings. In April an employee at a furniture store in Texas shot and killed one person, and a former employee killed eight people at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana.

When police arrived at the rail yard on Wednesday, Cassidy killed himself. Three semi-automatic pistols and 32 magazines were found on him. “He was very deliberate, very fast; he knew where employees would be,” Sheriff Laurie Smith told NBC television. A search this week of Cassidy’s home — which was set ablaze shortly before the attack — discovered 12 guns, some 22,000 rounds of ammunition, and suspected Molotov cocktails, Smith said in a statement Friday. His motive has yet to be determined.

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