As Shareef Allman opened fire last year on co-workers in a Cupertino area cement plant trailer, one man made a heroic lunge to save his co-workers but was killed himself.
Mark Munoz, a 59-year-old truck driver at the plant, had just watched Allman shoot their supervisor when he tried to tackle the hulking gunman. In the chaos, Munoz just missed him, and Allman turned his semi-automatic handgun on Munoz instead.
The story of Munoz's last-ditch effort to save his co-workers from the blood bath that ensued Oct. 5, 2011, when three people were killed and six more were wounded, is one of two new revelations in a 26-page report issued Wednesday by the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.
"I knew that without being told. I just had a feeling he did something like that," Munoz's widow, Viola R. Munoz, said Wednesday. "That's the kind of man he was. He wasn't going to take off. He saw his coworkers getting shot; he wasn't going to run. That's not my husband."
The report also explained the mystery of how Allman eluded police for 27 hours: He spent the night hiding deep in a crawl space beneath a house on East Homestead Road near Wolfe Road in Sunnyvale, the report said. When he came out the next morning and was spotted crouching behind a car in a neighborhood driveway, sheriff's deputies fired 44 shots, with eight striking him. The fatal shot to his head, however, was self-inflicted.
The report concludes that the three sheriff's deputies who fired the shots were justified in shooting him.
"Given the apparent danger that Allman posed, the deputies' use of deadly force was not excessive or unreasonable in eliminating the perceived imminent threat," the report said.
At least one survivor of the melee suggested in previous interviews that Allman went on his deadly rampage because he believed some of his coworkers were trying to get him fired for safety violations at the quarry.
The District Attorney's review detailed what happened in the moments after Allman opened fire inside the main break room trailer of the Lehigh Southwest Cement Permanente quarry about 4 a.m. on Oct. 5, 2011.
Allman, who worked at the cement plant for 15 years, barricaded the exits of the trailer before sitting down for the morning meeting. After a few minutes, he went to his locker and returned with a black, semi-automatic handgun.
"You all want to (expletive) with me?" he asked, then shot his supervisor, Jose Hernandez, who was at the opposite end of the room.
As employees scattered in different directions, some unable to get through doors barricaded from the outside, Munoz tried to tackle Allman, who was 5-foot-8 and weighed 255 pounds. He missed and was fatally shot, the report said.
After killing three and wounding six, Allman fled in his Mercury Cougar and stashed two weapons and a bag of bullets in various locations near Wolfe and Homestead roads. When he encountered a woman just arriving to work at Hewlett-Packard, he shot and wounded her as he tried to steal her car. She was the seventh and last victim injured in the attack that started at the plant.
Allman fled into the nearby neighborhood, where SWAT teams and other law enforcement personnel spent all day and night canvassing, scouring 400 homes looking for signs of Allman.
Sheriff's deputy Fabian De Santiago finally spotted him at 7:30 a.m. the next day, crouching behind a car on Lorne Way. Allman and two other officers quickly confronted Allman, who ignored orders to show his hands.
Allman, who was holding a gun, said, "Kill me!" and/or "I just want to kill myself!" the report said.
When he made a threatening gesture with the gun, deputies De Santiago, Christopher Hilt and Lindsay Crist opened fire, according to the prosecutor's review.
Allman used his gun to fire the fatal head wound. In his pockets, investigators found 34 unfired ammunition rounds.
A Sunnyvale crime scene investigator found some of Allman's belongings under a house in the 900 block of East Homestead Road. The investigator discovered several shoe prints consistent with the pattern on Allman's shoe soles. Throughout the crawl space, investigators found $2.46 in change, a black, plastic Glock factory speed loader, a folded $1 bill, shotgun shells and a cartridge with silver casings and copper jacketing.
On Wednesday, more than a year after the rampage, Munoz's widow says she misses her husband terribly.
"It's hard to explain," she said. "He was a very special man; a very, very warm-hearted, special man."
Copyright 2012 - San Jose Mercury News
McClatchy-Tribune News Service