DHS never told local authorities about stopping gunman, DA says

Local authorities in the San Jose area were not notified in 2016 after federal officials were arrested the man accused of killing nine of his employees This week he found him with books on terrorism and writings describing his hatred of the train station where he worked, the Santa Clara District Attorney told USA TODAY.

The information could have helped local law enforcement and the suspect’s employer potentially mitigate Wednesday’s attack took the lives of nine employees District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in an interview about the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) light rail hub in San Jose.

“The prosecutor’s office was not notified,” Rosen said, adding that he was not aware of any agency in the area that had received the information. “I would have liked to have known that in 2016.”

Rosen, whose office also helped after filming the Gilroy Garlic Festival two years ago, described the feeling that his community is again suffering from mass shootings. He outlined a number of potential avenues local law enforcement and the VTA could have taken years ago if federal agencies had disclosed the information after Samuel Cassidy was arrested.

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In 2016 – five years before the mass attack – Cassidy was stopped by US Customs and Border Protection on a return trip from the Philippines.

A Department of Homeland Security memo from the bus stop obtained from the Wall Street Journal stated that an official discovered that Cassidy had “books on terrorism and fear and manifestos … and a black memo book with lots of notes on” like he had the VTA hates. ”

The memo doesn’t explain why Cassidy was stopped.

Multiple inquiries to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the VTA regarding their knowledge of the federal authorities’ detention of Cassidy in 2016 were not returned. A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement the agency was working to improve information sharing with other law enforcement agencies.

“Under the direction of Secretary Mayorkas, the DHS launched a department-wide review in February that included efforts to ensure law enforcement personnel had the tools and training to identify indicators of behavior associated with targeted violence and measures to improve information sharing are connected to our partners. ” DHS spokeswoman Sarah Peck said in a statement.

Read about the victims:He tried to warn his staff, then he was shot: the relatives mourn the victims of gunfire at the San Jose train station

The exchange of information between agencies is an issue that has plagued the law enforcement community for a long time, but has been in recent years The federal government implements a number of programs aimed to improve communication between jurisdictions. However, problems persist, even with high profile incidents from the Riots in the US Capitol Earlier this year and A tip the FBI got prior to filming in Parkland, Florida in 2018, which was never investigated or disclosed to South Florida authorities.

“There may have been interventions that might have put this person on a different path,” said Rosen. “And when I say interventions, I mean that in general. I mean mental health interventions, counseling interventions and law enforcement interventions related to whether the person had firearms, and so on.”

He explained California’s Red Flag laws and the work of his office to temporarily remove firearms from anyone believed to pose a danger to themselves or others. However, it is unclear when Cassidy received his firearms and whether he owned a gun in 2016. Rosen said his office has filed more than 200 such injunctions in recent years, saying it helped “prevent dozens of such cases in our county and save countless lives”.

“If we had this information, or if the local law enforcement authorities had this information, we would have checked it,” Rosen said, saying he might be applying the red flag laws on Cassidy. “And that’s just the truth.”

But, Rosen said, his office and the law enforcement community in general are far from perfect and even with the early signals there is no way of knowing if this could have been avoided.

“We’re not perfect,” he said. “I think the standard we have to achieve is perfection to stop this, and we humans do our best. And you know, there is no news of the dozen of mass shootings that we have averted.”

More:After the shooting in San Jose, California Governor Gavin Newsom asks, “What the hell is wrong with us?”

A timeline of the attack:Officers stormed into the San Jose train station when gunfire continued, authorities say

Rosen’s office took the lead in setting up a family aid center to help those affected by the shootings and to provide everything from financial aid to counseling to the victims, families and those who knew those killed. His office also helps conduct forensics on guns and bullets in a crime lab that Rosen jokingly compared to the TV show CSI. His office uploads information about the bullets and firearms to a national database for links to other unsolved crimes.

Rosen said his office is still processing Cassidy’s firearms and the cartridge cases found in the shooting. He added that his office did not know when Cassidy bought his firearms or where they were obtained.

Photos released Friday by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office showed the range of guns and the thousands of rounds Cassidy had in his home. Authorities also found several cans of gasoline, suspected Molotov cocktails, 12 firearms and about 22,000 rounds.

Rosen said the consecutive shootings had been like a nightmare for him, his staff and the entire community.

“It’s like reliving another nightmare, but you say, ‘Oh, this isn’t the previous nightmare, it’s a new nightmare.’ And it’s overlaid with what happened two years ago, “he said. “It’s sad and tired, but everyone knows we can’t give up. On the contrary, it’s now like ‘Okay, what can we do better and differently to prevent this from happening again.'”

Contributors: Will Carless and Grace Hauck

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