SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Wednesday night the ABC7 I-Team had an exclusive interview with a VTA worker who was there to witness the mass shooting that claimed nine lives, and the brutal aftermath.
In this first person account, we learned more about what may have led to the shooting, and how the gunman chose his targets, leaving others to live.
Kirk Bertolet has worked for the VTA for 12 years, now as a light rail signal maintainer. He was there this morning, in the office next to the break room where workers had gathered for a shift change when the gunfire erupted.
He told the I-Team, "It was just several bursts, it was series of shots, then another series of shots and another series of shots."
Then, Bertolet heard the gunman leave the building and head for the control center. He rushed to provide first aid.
"I saw a couple people as I walked in and then I just saw a mass of bodies, and I went to check to see if anybody was alive, if I could do anything for anybody, and watch people take their last breath."
Bertolet tells us it surprised him that the gunman was 57-year-old Samuel Cassidy, a substation maintainer who ensured power flowed to the light rail.
"I was shocked to find out who it was myself, I've had a good relationship with him, been cordial," he shared.
Bertolet said Cassidy did not fire indiscriminately, "I do know that he had a specific agenda and was targeting certain people, he walked by people, let other people live as he gunned down other people."
He says this should not be a story about gun control, but about how VTA treats its employees, and how employees treat each other.
Bertolet told Dan Noyes, "We sometimes are brutal to one another, I know certain shops just have a certain culture about them, it's a union trade deal and it's just union hardcore blue collar workers and that's how things go."
He believes that Cassidy snapped because of the treatment on the job. Bertolet is an Air Force veteran, and tells me VTA is a gun-free zone. He wishes he was carrying a weapon, so he could have perhaps stopped Cassidy.
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