IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Workplace shooter alleged racism, shop steward says

Sheriff's deputies early Thursday escort a woman and baby out of a house in Sunnyvale, Calif., where a man matching the description of Shareef Allman was found and shot dead.
Sheriff's deputies early Thursday escort a woman and baby out of a house in Sunnyvale, Calif., where a man matching the description of Shareef Allman was found and shot dead.Gary Reyes / The San Jose Mercury News via AP
/ Source: NBC News and news services

The man who shot dead three co-workers before being killed by police Thursday had complained about racism at work and was recently notified about erratic driving on the job, his shop steward said.

Mike Ambrosio, who was shot in the arm, that he had confronted Shareef Allman less than a week ago about having turned over a truck and snagging overhead wires when he left the truck bed in the air at the quarry where they worked in Cupertino, Calif.

"He's had so many accidents and always said that because he's African American, the company was after him," Ambrosio told the newspaper. "He was an unsafe driver."

Ambrosio added that he told Allman last Thursday that "no one has ever had so many accidents in the company like you have."

When Allman started shooting, Ambrosio said, he shouted: "You guys want to (expletive) with me? You want to (expletive) with me?"

Allman was on the run for a day before being cornered, shot and killed Thursday morning, law enforcement sources told NBC affiliate KNTV.

Allman was shot by police in the same Sunnyvale neighborhood that police had searched a day earlier.

The Santa Clara County coroner confirmed Thursday evening that Allman was the man killed by deputies, KRON television reported.

Three deputies were on routine patrol when they encountered a man crouched behind a vehicle in the driveway of a home, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said.

He matched Allman's description, and deputies fired after he "displayed in a threatening manner his firearm," Smith said.

The workplace shootings and subsequent manhunt had stunned Allman's friends. They described him as a devoted single father of two, a strong Christian and the author of a novel about the evils of domestic violence.

The portrait of Allman, 47, diverged strongly from the man authorities suspect in the fatal shooting of three co-workers. Seven others were also wounded in the attack, some critically.

"If you live in San Jose, you could not help but know him. He had a great smile, and he lit up the room. He was such a peaceful man," said the Rev. Jeff Moore of the NAACP's San Jose-Silicon Valley chapter. "It's not making any sense to us, and it hurts us to the core. We want to do whatever we can to bring him home."

Allman became upset during a safety meeting at Permanente Quarry, said Santa Clara County sheriff's Lt. Rick Sung. Allman left the meeting and returned with a handgun and rifle and started shooting people, Sung said. About 15 workers were at the meeting.

Smith released the names of the dead Wednesday evening as Manuel Pinon, 48, of Newman, Calif., and John Vallejos, 51, and Mark Munoz, 59, both of San Jose.

Six others at the quarry were wounded and taken to hospitals, where some remained in critical condition.

Attempted carjacking after shooting
After leaving the quarry, authorities received a 911 call at around 7 a.m. reporting that a woman was shot in an attempted carjacking near Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Cupertino campus by a man matching Allman's description. The shooter fled on foot after using a weapon similar to a gun used in the quarry shooting, authorities said.

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)City of Cupertino

The carjacking victim, a Hewlett-Packard contract employee, was in fair condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Another victim was treated and released from the hospital, while a third remained in fair condition.

During the search Wednesday, schools were on lockdown in Cupertino, home of Apple Inc., and in nearby communities as authorities went door to door with guns drawn and residents were warned to stay indoors.

Authorities found Allman's car, and collected a shotgun, a handgun and two rifles believed to belong to the suspect, Smith said, adding that some of the weapons were found in the car.

Allman was last seen in surveillance footage from a nearby gas station shortly after the shooting outside Hewlett-Packard, Smith said. In the video, he appeared to be armed.

The shootings rattled those close to Allman.

"He was always helping people," said Walter Wilson, a community activist who has known Allman all his life. He said he last saw Allman three weeks ago at downtown music festival, where he seemed happy and jovial. "He spent his life in the service of other people. This is totally out of character for him."

Devoted dad, active volunteer
Allman would attend every one of his daughter's basketball games, or any event she was in.

"You talk about Mr. Mom," said Sandra Dailey, 54, who described herself as a close friend. "He never missed an event. He was an incredible father."

In addition to working at the quarry, Allman has run a nonprofit group for youths and produced and hosted a public access television show for CreaTV in San Jose.

He also wrote a novel titled "Saving Grace," about the evils of domestic violence.

On the back cover of the book, Allman wrote a poem and included a statement that the book is not a reflection of himself, but of "man's inhumanity."

In the poem, the subject apologizes for abuse: "How can I say sorry for your blood that I shed? How can I say sorry for almost beating you dead? How can I say sorry, when sorry can't mend the wound? How can I say sorry for the coffin and the tomb?"

Suzanne St. John-Crane, executive director of CreaTV, where Allman submitted video for a show called Real 2 Real, said she had spoken with him numerous times but did not know him well.

"Based on what we know now, we're shocked and devastated and feel for the families of the victims," St. John-Crane said. "But he didn't work here. I want to make that clear. We're very frightened."

Moore said one of big messages of Allman's show was for black men to behave responsibly. "He loved his people. He was a proud black man," he said.

Interviewed Jesse Jackson
A video posted on YouTube shows Allman interviewing the Rev. Jesse Jackson outside a memorial for the late musician Walter Hawkins for a piece for CreaTV. In the video, Allman talks with Jackson about the positive and transformative messages of gospel music.

"I hope what he gave all of us we take out to our community and use it to better ourselves and our community," Allman said about Hawkins during the interview.

Business records show that in 2004, Allman started a youth development organization called Helping Hands Changing Hearts, which listed its location as Allman's home address. However, the IRS automatically revoked the organization's exempt status as a nonprofit for failure to file proper tax forms for three consecutive years, records showed.

"He's always had a smile on his face," said Paulette Conner, 57, a neighbor at Allman's San Jose apartment complex who said she's known him for five years. "I've never known him to have any violent tendencies. Never. Ever."

Conner said Allman occasionally griped to her and others over the years about his job, including his various shift changes and some co-workers.

Allman is known as a local fixture long involved in San Jose's black community. Before a news conference Wednesday where the city's black leaders urged him to turn himself in, friends described Allman as a non-violent person not known to own guns.

"He used to do so much for the community. Something must have happened to make him flip out like this," said Pastor Oscar Dace of Bible Way Christian Center. "Everybody just can't believe that this has happened."