Three people were killed, and six wounded at a California cement plant and quarry after a disgruntled employee opened fire on his co-workers. The incident happened at Lehigh Hanson's Permanente cement plant and quarry in Cupertino. A seventh victim, from an attempted carjacking after the incident, was also admitted to the hospital.
Authorities identified the dead as Mark Muñoz, 59, of San Jose, John Vallejos, 51, of San Jose, and Manuel Guadalupe Piñon, 48, of Newman, all employees of Lehigh. The shooting suspect, Shareef Allman, 47, later killed himself during a shootout with Santa Clara County sheriff's officers.
According to local media, Allman, a heavy equipment operator, had been in a safety meeting with more than a dozen co-workers when, police say, he pulled a gun from his waistband and began shooting. One of the survivors of the shooting told the Mercury News that Allman was under pressure at work after repeated accusations of driving recklessly at the quarry.
The shooting spree set in motion a massive manhunt in local communities. Schools went into lockdown mode or told students to stay home, and residents were put on high alert.
"Yesterday our company and our employees suffered a great tragedy, one unparalleled in the 70-year history of this facility,” said Kari Saragusa, president of the company's West Region. “Our community is still very much in a state of shock. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims and their families. Our first priority right now is taking care of our people. We are working closely with grief counselors and making sure our employees are prepared to deal with this terrible day.
“We are proud of our workforce – many have worked here for decades and even generations,” Saragusa said. “Nothing is more important than their well-being, and the well-being of the shooting victim of Sunnyvale who also was assaulted. We wish all of you a full and speedy recovery. Finally, and importantly, we want to thank the Santa Clara County Sherriff's office, the City of Cupertino, and other members of the community during this difficult time. Our combined swift actions, professionalism and sustained support are a source of strength."Allman had worked at the plant for 15 years. He had a past history of domestic violence, but in recent years, had reportedly worked to overcome that as the host of a cable television show that advocated non-violence, and as the author of a novel about the evils of domestic violence.