Sheriff: Man believed to be CA quarry shooter dead

October 6, 2011 - 3:20 PM
California Quarry Shooting

Sheriff's deputies escort a woman and baby out of a house before they enter the home in Sunnyvale, Calif., where a man matching the description of suspected gunman Shareef Allman was found and shot dead by law enforcement officers on Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. Shareef was the focus of a huge manhunt after an alleged shooting at a Cupertino cement plant early Wednesday morning where three people were killed and seven wounded. (AP Photo/San Jose Mercury News, Gary Reyes)

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (AP) — A man believed to be the disgruntled employee accused of opening fire on his co-workers at a California limestone quarry was shot and killed by deputies Thursday, authorities said.

Three deputies on routine patrol in a Sunnyvale neighborhood encountered the man matching Shareef Allman's description around 7:30 a.m., Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith said. He was crouched behind a vehicle in the driveway of a home.

The deputies opened fire after the man "displayed in a threatening manner his firearm," Smith said.

Investigators believe the man is Allman, but the coroner will have to confirm the identity, she said.

"I'm glad that we were able to reach a resolution. It's unfortunate that an additional person died, but it's over, and my concern is the public safety of the county," Smith said.

Authorities did not immediately release the names of deputies — two men and one woman — who all had less than five years with the agency. Smith praised their work, saying they "did a great job at the scene."

The shooting took place in a residential neighborhood about 5 miles east of the Lehigh Southwest Cement Permanente Plant, where Allman allegedly opened fire during a routine safety meeting a day earlier. Three people died and six were wounded.

Authorities believe Allman also shot a woman in an attempted carjacking a couple of hours after fleeing the quarry. Thursday's encounter with law enforcement took place about a block from that carjacking, near Hewlett-Packard Co.'s Cupertino campus.

Allison Moorwood, who lives near the scene of Thursday's shooting, said authorities scoured the area the previous day in search of Allman.

"We were in the house lockdown all day yesterday," Moorwood said. "We've never seen anything like it in our neighborhood."

"The SWAT stormed in like ninjas, and they took a position in our front bedroom," said another neighbor, Jenny Martin.

According to authorities, Allman became upset Wednesday during the meeting at the quarry. He left briefly and returned with a handgun and rifle and started shooting people, Santa Clara County sheriff's 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 and taken to hospitals, where some were in critical condition, Smith said.

Later Wednesday morning, authorities received a 911 call reporting an attempted carjacking 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.

The carjacking victim, a Hewlett-Packard contract employee, was in fair condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said.

She said a quarry shooting victim was listed there in good condition Thursday, and another victim was treated and released shortly after the shooting.

During the ensuing manhunt for Allman, schools were locked down in Cupertino, home of Apple Inc., and in nearby communities. 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.

The shootings rattled those close to Allman.

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.

To his friends, he was an outgoing, friendly man and devoted single father of two who once worked tirelessly to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims.

"If you live in San Jose, you could not help but know him. He had a great smile, and he lit up the room," said Rev. Jeff Moore of the NAACP's San Jose-Silicon Valley chapter. "He was such a peaceful man."

Walter Wilson, a community activist who has known Allman all his life, said he last saw Allman three weeks ago at downtown music festival. He seemed happy and jovial, Wilson said.

"He spent his life in the service of other people," Wilson said.