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California workplace shooting suspect's strange behavior detailed

October 5, 2011 | 11:16 am

Shareef Allman The suspect in the fatal shootings at a Cupertino, Calif., quarry Wednesday had worked at the plant as a truck driver and was described by one employee “as a real nice guy” but who was acting strangely distant to others the day before.

Shareef Allman, 49, “was a real nice guy and welcomed us up there,” said Charles Bryan, who is also a  truck driver at the Lehigh Southwest Cement Co. plant. Recently, Bryan said, “he was talking about how he had just gotten a month vacation. He had to have been there 15 years for that.”

But Bryan said Allman was acting strangely Tuesday and would not make eye contact with others.

Photos: Shooting at California quarry

“This is really weird,” he said. “Yesterday it was like no one else was there but him. Our work is very dangerous. We’re supposed to have eye contact with each other. But yesterday it was like we weren’t there.”

Because it was raining Wednesday morning, Bryan said he was told to come in later and wasn’t there at the time of the shooting.  He said he was stunned to learn that Allman was the suspected gunman.

“I would never have guessed it,” he said.

The shootings began at 4:30 a.m. at the plant, leaving two dead and six wounded.

Allman, who remains at large, also shot a Hewlett-Packard employee in the leg and carjacked her vehicle as he fled the scene, authorities said.

Soledad Navarro, whose brother Francisco Martin, 22, works at the quarry, said that Francisco called her at 7 a.m. from the plant to tell her what happened and that he was safe. She said her brother knew the suspected gunman and described him as a “persona muy malo,” ("very bad person").

“I feel bad” for the victims and their families, said Navarro, who was among a group of family and friends waiting outside the plant on Stevens Creek Boulevard for information about the shooting. About 15 employees at the quarry had been evacuated earlier.

About 10 a.m., at Stevens Creek and Foothill boulevards, where police had blocked off the road to the quarry, Carmen Rodriguez of San Jose stood with a box of tissues looking for her sister, Viola Munoz. Rodriguez’s brother-in-law, Mark Munoz, had been at the quarry’s safety meeting that morning and by now Rodriguez was distraught.

“I just got word that he was one of the ones shot, one of the two,” she said. “He was working there like 20 some-odd years. He was in that safety meeting. It’s just devastating to me.”

Mark Munoz, she said, is a father and grandfather who likes restoring old Volkswagen Beetles. He also cares for his mother, who, in her 80s and unable to walk, lives with the family.

“He couldn’t wait to retire. He had maybe three years more,” Rodriguez said.

Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Lt. Rick Sung said that a K-9 unit and a police helicopter were assisting in the search. A SWAT unit was also at the scene.

Shooting victims were taken to Stanford Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center.

RELATED:

Cupertino schools on alert

Car sought in manhunt is found

Suspect identified in Cupertino workplace shooting

--Maria L. La Ganga in Cupertino

Photo: Undated handout photo of Shareef Allman. Credit: City of Cupertino

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