Lawyer: Man believed to be quarry suspect suicidal

October 7, 2011 - 4:00 PM
California Quarry Shooting

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)

CUPERTINO, Calif. (AP) — A cement plant truck driver who police said opened fire on colleagues at a California limestone quarry made a suicidal comment and brandished a handgun before three deputies killed him in a nearby neighborhood the following day, the deputies' lawyer said Friday.

San Jose attorney Terry Bowman represents Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputies Fabian De Santiago, Christopher Hilt and Lindsay Crist.

The three were on routine patrol Thursday morning in Sunnyvale when De Santiago spotted Shareef Allman, 47, crouching behind two cars in a driveway, Bowman said.

"(De Santiago) gets out of the car and he is realizing that this person matches the description of Mr. Allman, and he's aware of what happened at the quarry and that he is presumed armed and dangerous," Bowman said. "And (De Santiago) is telling him, 'Let me see your hands! Let me see your hands!'"

Allman put his hands in the air, and the deputies noticed he was holding a handgun, Bowman said.

Bowman said all three deputies said the man made a comment to the effect of "kill me."

"He then points his gun directly at the deputy," Bowman said. "All three deputies see this, and all three fire their weapons in response to the deadly threat."

Authorities had been hunting for Allman since Wednesday, when opened fire at a work meeting in Cupertino, killing three colleagues and wounding six. Officials believe Allman also shot a woman in an attempted carjacking a couple of hours after fleeing the quarry.

Bowman said all three deputies are cooperating with the investigation. All three have been on the force less than five years.

Sheriff's officials late Thursday said they had obtained a surveillance taken from a security camera that showed Allman walking with a rifle after the shooting.

Authorities have not released any details about a possible motive, other than to say the suspect 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.

Allman was recently suspended after he accidentally 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 quarry shooting, saying he was being treated unfairly.

"But he was fine and didn't seem angry," Hoyt said. "We talked and joked around."

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 the company disagreed that there was any racial discrimination.

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

Chizmadia said the company is paying all funeral expenses for the families, and has been providing grief counseling to the families since Wednesday. He also said all 150 employees at the Lehigh Southwest Cement plant are receiving full pay while the plant remains closed.

"This is an event no one could have foreseen. It's absolutely shocking and unprecedented in the 70 plus years from this site," Chizmadia said. "We don't want (employees) to have any financial burden at all."

According to authorities, Allman became upset around 4 a.m. Wednesday during the meeting at the quarry. He left briefly and returned with a handgun and rifle and started shooting people, sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rick Sung said. About 15 workers were at the meeting.

The dead were identified 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, some critically, and taken to hospitals, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said.

The carjacking victim, a Hewlett-Packard contract employee, was taken to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. An update on her injuries wasn't immediately available Friday, but she was earlier listed in fair condition.

In addition to working at the quarry, Allman had run a nonprofit youth development organization and produced and hosted a public access television show in San Jose. He also wrote a novel about the evils of domestic violence.

___

Associated Press writer Sudhin Thanawala in San Francisco contributed to this report.