Monday, June 27, 2022

9 guns seized from California man charged with cyberstalking

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Police seized an arsenal of guns and ammunition from a Northern California man charged with cyberstalking his former co-workers after being fired from his job, it was announced Tuesday.

Bryan Velasquez, 43, of Morgan Hill was charged last week with felony stalking and was released on $50,000 bail. He could face further charges involving illegal weapons, authorities said.

“There’s an individual that has animosity, hatred, anger toward others and that was averted. A mass shooting, I believe, was averted,” Police Chief Anthony Mata said.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Velasquez had an attorney who could speak on his behalf. He declined to comment when contacted Tuesday by KNTV-TV.

Velasquez was fired from a construction company in January. In April, the company called police to say that he had been “engaging in stalking behavior,” a police statement said.

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The behavior escalated, police said, and included posting online photos of himself pointing guns and sending threatening, profanity-laced emails to his former supervisors and co-workers.

This undated photo provided by the San Jose Police Department shows an arsenal of guns seized from suspect Bryan Velasquez, of San Jose, Calif.
Associated Press

Some of the emails suggested he was watching the alleged victims and described details about their homes and family members.

One recent email that was sent out “had statements like, I know where you live, I see you installed a pool, I know what your wife is driving,” Marisa McKeown, a supervising attorney for the Crime Strategies Unit of the Santa Clara County The county district attorney’s office, told the Bay Area News Group.

Police learned that Velasquez owned several registered firearms and, working with the DA’s office, got an arrest warrant on the felony charge and a gun-violence restraining order. That allowed authorities to seize his weapons pending a June 6 hearing to determine whether he is fit to possess them. Both orders were served at his home on May 19, police said.

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Velasquez, a disgruntled ex-worker, was charged with cyberstalking co-workers and police seized his arsenal of weapons.
Velasquez, a disgruntled ex-worker, was charged with cyberstalking co-workers and police seized his arsenal of weapons.
Associated Press

Investigators seized at least five rifles and four handguns, according to police photos. The weapons included two assault-style rifles, and several of the guns had illegal modifications including rear pistol grips and detachable magazines, authorities said.

Also seized were “high-capacity magazines, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, tactical body armor and materials to manufacture and assemble ghost guns,” the police statement said.

The announcement came only days before the first anniversary of a shooting at a San Jose rail yard that killed 10 people including the gunman.

Sam Cassidy, 57, a disgruntled employee at the Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard, killed co-workers and then himself in the May 26 attack. It was the deadliest mass shooting in San Francisco Bay Area history.

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