SAN JOSE (KPIX) — On the eve of the Bay Area’s deadliest shooting, Annette Romo and her son are speaking out about the Valley Transportation Authority, the agency that employed her husband for more than 20 years.
The widow told KPIX she believes the VTA dropped the ball and failed to protect the employees from the gunman, Samuel Cassidy, who had a long history of insubordination and instability with coworkers and management.
“They should’ve gotten the man help, Romo said. “They should’ve seen the signs, they should’ve seen the flags and they should’ve gotten him the help he needed.”
On May 26, 57-year-old Cassidy set up his home to catch fire at the same time he arrived at work that morning and unloaded his gun at his colleagues, killing nine before turning the gun on himself.
“I’d want to ask them (the VTA) why they let it go on for so long, what they were doing to protect our families,” Romo said.
Over the past couple weeks, the VTA has released hundreds of documents in Cassidy’s file, which include incidents of insubordination, a verbal altercation with an employee over vacation scheduling and a coworker who stated, “If someone was to go postal, it’d be him.”
The agency also released this week an audio recording of Cassidy from February of this year in which he used his radio to communicate his frustration with supervisors over a vacation sign-up.
“If your way power signal operations manager and superintendent are going to screw over ATU on the vacation sign-up and drop the ball then I’m going to drop the ball as well,” Cassidy says in the recording.
“I talked with a couple other family members that lost their spouses too and he was disgruntled,” Romo said. “He always wanted to be working alone and never wanted to work with anybody. I think that the company did bury it underneath the rug.”
What’s more, Romo and her son, Tristan Romo, feel the federal government also failed to protect them when U.S. Customs Border and Protection agents didn’t inform local authorizes in 2016 they had detained and interviewed Cassidy and found him carrying books about terrorism as well as a black book filled with notes of his hatred toward the VTA.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen has vowed to find out why customs agents never contacted them.
“You guys had him and you didn’t notify his employer,” said Tristan. “I don’t really care what was the final straw, it’s just, my dad is gone.”
Romo is determined to get answers on why Cassidy walked by some coworkers the day of the shooting, sparing their lives and murdered others, including her husband of 29 years.
She said she’s tried to reach out to her husband’s management but her questions remain unanswered. They said there is no open line of communication between their family and the VTA and much of what they learn about the case is through the media.
“They really need to make sure that they have an open-door policy for employees that feel disgruntled,” said Romo. “They funnel everything through the union and that’s it.”
KPIX reached out to Customs Border and Protection as well as the VTA and is still waiting to hear back.