SAN FRANCISCO – A 47-year-old engineer arrested on suspicion of fatally shooting three of his co-workers had been laid off hours earlier and returned to the office to ask for a meeting with the victims, police said Saturday.
Jing Hua Wu was arrested Saturday, a day after the shootings at an office complex in Santa Clara, west of San Jose. A manhunt ended at an intersection in his home city of Mountain View, and he will be booked into jail on three counts of murder, said Santa Clara Police Lt. Mike Sellers.
Wu had worked at the Silicon Valley high-tech firm SiPort Inc. as a product test engineer until he was let go on Friday morning. Police said he returned sometime after 3 p.m. Friday.
"He requested a meeting with several company officials," said Santa Clara Police Chief Stephen Lodge. "It was during this meeting that Jing Wu took out a 9 mm handgun and shot and killed all three officials."
Killed were 56-year-old Sid Agrawal, SiPort's chief executive officer; Brian Pugh, 47, vice president of operations; and Marilyn Lewis, 67, head of human resources.
Wu, who is married and has twin sons, was not armed when he was arrested, and officers did not find a gun in his vehicle, police said.
Meanwhile, Wu's neighbors were still trying to comprehend what happened to the man they referred to fondly as "Jerry." Neighbors in Wu's close-knit neighborhood of eight two-story stucco homes described him as a happily married father of 6-year-old twin boys and another boy under 3.
"It's shocking and emotionally jarring," said Jim Pollart, 47, a neighbor who met Wu and his wife, who friends call Jane, when the couple moved into the area some 11 years ago. "Who knows what happened to cause him to do such a horrible thing. It's unbelievable."
"Wu is a nice, smart guy who is quiet by nature," Pollart said, adding that his children regularly played with Wu's kids. He also recalled how joyous Wu and his wife were when their parents made annual visits from China.
Standing outside Wu's home Saturday evening, Pollart saw a woman come out the house and asked her how Wu's wife was doing. The woman replied, "Not so well."
A man holding a briefcase walked into Wu's house and was met by Wu's wife at the door. They did not respond to a reporter's subsequent knocks on the door.
Wu had been missing since the shootings at the offices of the 4-year-old company, which develops digital radio semiconductors.
Detectives received a tip about Wu's whereabouts on Saturday and were waiting for him as he exited his silver sport utility vehicle near a shop.
"This is a truly tragic event. These people are innocent victims just trying to do their jobs," Sellers said. "To get him into custody within hours of the event was very, very important to our department."