Son of Cupertino quarry killer talks to I-Team

The I-Team has new insight into one of the most horrific crimes in California history -- the Cupertino quarry shooting rampage.
November 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
ABC7 News is getting new insight into one of the most horrific crimes in California history -- the shooting rampage at the Lehigh Cement Quarry in Cupertino two years ago. I-Team reporter Dan Noyes has an exclusive interview with the killer's son.

ABC7 News is getting new insight into one of the most horrific crimes in California history -- the shooting rampage at the Lehigh Cement Quarry in Cupertino two years ago. I-Team reporter Dan Noyes has an exclusive interview with the killer's son.

The day of the massacre, I began reaching out to the killer's family. That lead to this interview now, two years later. In cases like this, it's important to examine what happened to learn how it may be prevented in the future. And there were many warning signs.

To the world, Shareef Allman was a deranged killer.

"It was quick," shooting victim Mike Ambrosio said. "It wasn't just a bullet. It was bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam, bam."

He walked into a pre-dawn safety meeting at the Lehigh Quarry in Cupertino with a handgun and an AK-47, and shot nine co-workers. Three of them died.

Dispatcher: "Okay, everybody is on the way, hold on one second."
Worker: "Please, please, tell the people he's going to die in my arms."
Dispatcher: "Okay, hold on so that I can get everybody started, okay?"
Worker: "Thank you."

But to this young man, Shareef Allman was just dad.

"He was a typical dad," Shareef Allman Jr. said. "He would go to all my football games, go to all my track meets. I mean, he was just there for me."

In addition to driving a truck at the quarry, Shareef Allman Sr. was something of a local cable access celebrity.

"By doing the shows I do, people are in tune and attached to those type of shows, because it's about the heart, it's about compassion," said Shareef Allman Sr.

He often bragged about sparring with Mike Tyson. He even appeared as an extra in Will Smith's film, "The Pursuit of Happyness," which was shot in the Bay Area.

Shareef Jr. tells me his father was a private man who kept the tensions at his quarry job to himself, but that he kept records.

Shareef: "There's just stuff my dad was writing in the file cabinet, just like the stuff he was going through at that job."
Dan: "Oh, he was writing about it?"
Shareef: "Yeah, just like over the last 20 years. He just documented everything that, every problem he ever had at that job. Every time he just felt something was wrong with him, because of whatever was going on up there."

Investigators confiscated the notebooks and they remain under seal, but a source who has seen them tells me they contain page after page of Shareef Sr.'s angry ramblings about his life, his children, and his job at the quarry.

"He bottled a lot of stuff in and I never knew that about him, a lot of people didn't know he was going through that anger," Shareef Jr. said. "I just wished he expressed it. I mean a lot of my family members wished he expressed it, and I believe if he would have expressed it, who knows what the outcome would be now."

Just days before the massacre, Shareef Sr. did talk about work issues to a friend in Sacramento when he showed off his new AK-47.

"I was like, 'What you doing with that? What you gonna do with that?'" said his friend, Brandon Powell. "He was like, 'Man, these (expletive) at my job keep messin' with me.'"

On Oct. 5, 2011, Shareef Jr.'s mother woke him up with a phone call, saying turn on the TV.

"When I saw the name pop up, that's when I kind of woke up," Shareef Jr. said. "Like whoa, it's like what's happening here. And I called my sister. It's one of those things where you're just in complete shock, so you just don't know what to do."

The hours dragged on, and police could not find Shareef Sr. A surveillance camera caught him walking with a rifle slung over his shoulder. Then he shot a woman while trying to take her car. Police found weapons he stashed; they believe he had prepared for a final stand.

Dan: "He was on the run for over a day. Did you talk to him at all during that day?"
Shareef: "Nope, my dad didn't have a cellphone. From 2010, he never had a cellphone, he didn't believe in cellphones, I don't know why."

Sheriff's deputies finally spotted Shareef Sr. hiding in a Sunnyvale driveway just five miles from the quarry. They fired dozens of shots, but he killed himself with a pistol. It was too much for his son to take.

Dan: "What went through your mind? What emotions did you feel?"
Shareef Jr. "For three days I was parking on the train tracks."
Dan: "Really?"
Shareef: "In the month of February I would write Facebook statuses saying the train never comes."

Shareef Allman Jr. bounced back and found new direction as an author. The book he's self-publishing next month is set in high school. It explores how stereotypes sometimes guide how we treat each other; and yes, it mentions his father.

Reading from the book, Shareef Jr. asks, "If this man used to be so positive and a mentor, what drove him to kill three people?"

He still struggles to understand why.

Dan: "What made your dad snap?"
Shareef: "Everybody has suspicions, but?"
Dan: "What are yours?"
Shareef: "Obviously, somebody either made him mad; I mean that's the biggest thing, somebody made him mad, because what else could it be?"

Lawsuits filed against Lehigh Cement say Shareef Sr. was constantly threatening his co-workers, they complained, but that management did nothing.

The company emailed me that, "these lawsuits are unwarranted and have no merit."

They're currently in arbitration and the victims' lawyers expect the awards to be huge.

Shareef Jr. tells me he would never change the name he shares with his infamous father. He says he was a great man who pushed him hard to pursue his dreams.


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