Shareef Allman
This undated photo provided Wednesday Oct. 5, 2011 by the City of Cupertino, Calif., shows Shareef Allman. Schools were on lockdown or closed in the Silicon Valley city of Cupertino as SWAT teams sought Allman, who authorities say killed two and wounded at least six at the Northern California limestone quarry where he worked, and may have also shot a woman in an attempted carjacking afterward. Allman allegedly opened fire at a safety meeting at the Permanente Quarry at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, Santa Clara County Sheriff's spokesman Jose Cardoza said. (AP Photo/City of Cupertino)
updated 10/8/2011 4:08:44 PM ET 2011-10-08T20:08:44

The family of the man who shot and killed three colleagues at a Silicon Valley cement plant and wounded six others said Saturday they are shocked and have no explanation for why the shooting happened.

In a statement, Shareef Allman's family called the incident a "horrific tragedy" and expressed their condolences to the victims and their families.

They said the Allman they knew was a loving father and good man.

"There are no words that can express how very sorry we are, or how badly we feel," the statement read.

It was released by Tony Williams, pastor of the Maranatha Christian Center in San Jose. Williams said Allman visited the church, and his family asked that Williams serve as a spokesman. He said the family members did not wish to be identified.

Allman had a son and daughter. He was shot dead by sheriff's deputies Thursday, a day after the shooting at Lehigh Southwest Cement plant, where he worked as a truck driver.

On Friday, authorities released chilling details about the events surrounding the shooting.

An hour had passed and three of their colleagues lay dead when surviving workers at the cement plant heard an ominous voice on a work-issued walkie-talkie: Allman, who'd fled the bloody scene, was vowing to return.

"He says something to the effect of, 'I'm watching you and I'm going to come back and finish you off!'" said Sgt. Jose Cardoza, a spokesman with the Santa Clara County sheriff's office.

The violence began around 4 a.m. Wednesday, when about a dozen employees at the plant assembled in a small room for a security meeting, Jose Rivas, 49, a survivor who worked on a conveyor belt at the company, told The Associated Press.

Allman, 47, who had been having problems at work and was angry over a recent suspension, entered the room around 15 minutes after the meeting started.

"He doesn't even say 'Good morning,'" Rivas recalled. "He just came in and grabbed a cup of coffee."

Rivas said Allman walked around the room and then left.

About five minutes later, Allman returned, barricaded the door and opened fire, Cardoza said. Rivas said Allman yelled an obscenity before shooting.

He shot 59-year-old Mark Munoz first, Rivas said, then picked off the others one by one. Munoz died, as did Manuel Pinon, 48, and John Vallejos, 51.

Rivas, who was sitting in a chair on the perimeter of the room when the shooting began, dove under a table. He saw his supervisor, Jose Hernandez, get shot.

"He yelled 'No, no, no,'" Rivas said of Hernandez. Allman then walked to each person hiding under the table and shot them, Rivas said.

Rivas put his head down on his arm, and waited his turn.

"He was ready to shoot me. I said, 'No, no!," said Rivas as he screwed up his face to mimic Allman's enraged mien. "It was terrible. He was filled with hate."

Allman passed Rivas over, continuing to shoot others.

"I saw my boss laying there bleeding. Then it stopped. Then we heard steps," Rivas said.

Hernandez then told Rivas to call 911, who hesitated for a few seconds, worried that Allman was still outside. But then Rivas ran to another part of the office.

"I jumped over the bodies," he said. "I ran to part of the office and then I called 911. I said, 'Send the police! Send an ambulance! Please, please we need help.'"

Allman left the room, police said, leaving the cement plant before shooting a Hewlett-Packard contract employee in the leg while trying to carjack her. An update on her injuries wasn't immediately available Friday; she has been listed in fair condition.

Surveillance video shows Allman walked through a gas station nearby at about the same time, a rifle slung over his shoulder.

Allman then disappeared into the quiet Sunnyvale neighborhood where he was shot dead on Thursday.

Authorities have not released any details about a possible motive, other than to say that Allman was disgruntled.

Allman's friends and colleagues said he had complained about being treated unfairly by his managers, but still were baffled that he resorted to violence. He was described as a pillar of San Jose's black community, a doting father who penned a novel describing the evils of domestic violence.

His family echoed that sentiment in its statement.

"We are completely shocked and struggle with the events which occurred because the Shareef we knew was a loving father and good man who lived his life helping others, volunteering and advocating for positive change for compelling social issues," they said.

But Allman recently felt he was wronged by a suspension at work following an accident in which he hit a power line while dumping a truck load at the quarry, according to Bill Hoyt, secretary-treasurer of Teamster's Local 287.

Hoyt said Allman visited his labor union offices less than a week before the shooting, saying he was being treated unfairly.

Another longtime friend, Walter Wilson, said Allman complained of racism at work, but he didn't think it was a major issue for him.

"As far as I know he was the only African-American truck driver," Wilson said. "I tried to tell him to go through the process, and he said he felt like he had it under control."

Tom Chizmadia, a spokesman for Lehigh Hanson Inc., the cement plant and quarry's corporate parent, said there was no racial discrimination.

"The company feels very strongly about diversity in the workforce," he said.

While Allman's friends and family were mystified that he could resort to such violence, court documents show that Allman's ex-wife filed for a restraining order against him in 1991.

In the documents, Valerie Allman said Allman hit her on the side of the head with a brass lamp, knocking her unconscious. She also wrote that Allman once became enraged when he couldn't find one of the two guns he kept in the house.

For Rivas, he felt a higher power protected him that day.

Rivas interlocked his fingers, kissed his thumbs and raised his hands to the sky, as he said, "My Lord, my Lord! He put a shell around me like an angel around me."

He later added, "I don't like the human brain anymore. It's infected with evil."


Associated Press writers Jason Dearen and Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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