Quarry shooting suspect still at large

October 6, 2011 1:41:23 AM PDT
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office has identified the three men who were fatally shot at a Cupertino cement plant Wednesday morning, prompting a massive manhunt that continued late into the night.

John Robert Vallejos, 51, and Mark Munoz, 59, both of San Jose, and Manuel Guadalupe Pinon, 48, of Newman, died after Shareef Allman, 47, showed up for an early morning meeting at the plant and opened fire on other employees, according to the sheriff's office.

House to house, door to door, heavily armed SWAT teams spent the day searching neighborhoods on the Cupertino-Sunnyvale border for Allman. He is the suspect in a shooting rampage that killed three people and injured seven others. Allman is still on the loose and is considered armed and dangerous. Officials are begging him to surrender.

The incidents that leading up to the search that has been ongoing for almost all of Wednesday began at 4:30 a.m. when Allman allegedly walked into Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant with an assault rifle and a handgun and opened fire.

"The only reports we have is that he was disgruntled and he was unhappy. Whether it was work related or private home related, we don't know at this time," Santa Clara County Sheriffs Dept. Sgt. Jose Cardoza said.

A short time later, a woman was shot in an attempted carjacking in a Hewlett-Packard parking lot in Sunnyvale.

Witnesses say the suspect, a man matching Allman's description, ran into the neighborhood.

"There are certain houses and yards we're paying particular attention to because people are calling us with information; as we get that information, we'll send teams there to try and locate them," Santa Clara County Sheriffs Dept. Sgt. Jose Cardoza said.

HP asked employees not to come to work at their Cupertino campus Wednesday and the company issued a statement saying, "We are in close contact with local authorities who are currently investigating the incident. The HP contract employee who was injured by gunfire as a result of the incident is safe and in stable condition at a nearby hospital."

Not far from where Allman's car was found, investigators located a rifle hidden under a dumpster.

"I knew he had a gun, I didn't know he had a collection of guns," Allman's friend Mitchell Julien said. "Shareef has too much to live for, you know for him to snap like this is totally out of character for as long as I've known him, for him to act like this."

At one point, police searched a play structure at a neighborhood park and surrounded a bathroom where it appeared Allman might have been.

Streets were shut down and those who were at home while the manhunt was taking place were told to shelter in place. Late Wednesday afternoon, residents were allowed to return to their homes, with police sometimes checking their cars to make sure Allman was not hiding.

"Kind of unsettling, not knowing what's happening; I paid attention to the TV, checked online, see what's happening, calling in on neighbors, making sure they were OK," resident Terry Gonzalez said.

Quarry co-workers say Allman was well liked

Allman's co-workers at the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant in unincorporated Santa Clara County just outside Cupertino say he had always been a jovial, smiling kind of guy. But Tuesday, his demeanor changed 180 degrees.

"Yesterday he wouldn't even look at us as we went by or were anywhere near his vicinity and we got to wondering what was going on with him," one worker at the quarry said. "It was enough that at lunch time, it was kind of the talk of our lunch, what's wrong with him, and then today this happens."

As workers exited the quarry Wednesday morning, they were met by worried family members. Some shrieked for joy when they learned the one they had been looking for was safe. Others wept when they learned the opposite.

Shooting and search worrisome for nearby schools

The shooting rampage and following search caused a lot of confusion at schools around both the shooting and search areas. The school district issued a warning asking parents to keep kids at home, but the word got out late and many were already dropping the students off at school.

Only about 25 percent of Homestead High School's 2,300 students showed up for classes on Wednesday. Later in the afternoon, students could only leave campus for the day in the care of their parents.

The district has not made any plans to continue closure or lockdown Thursday. Their course of action will be determined by the search for the suspect.

The number for the Family Assistance Center for any family members of victims is (408) 777-3200. Anyone with witness information should call detectives at (408) 808-4500.

ABC7 reporters Laura Anthony, Wayne Freedman, Don Sanchez, Heather Ishimaru, Amy Hollyfield and Terry McSweeney contributed to this story. Bay City News also contributed to this report.


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