SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- A rampage by a fired computer company technician who killed seven people was touched off by a Wednesday court date to answer a harassment complaint filed by a former co-worker who spurned his advances, police said.
Richard Farley, 39, wounded five others during the rampage, including the woman with whom he had been obsessed for four years, before surrendering Tuesday night at ESL Inc. He held police at bay for nearly six hours and fired numerous shots before he walked out with his hands in the air.
Police Lt. Ruben Grijalva, who had negotiated by telephone with Farley, said the attacker agreed to surrender after he was promised a soda and a sandwich.
'I'm not crazy -- I know I will die as a result of this,' Grijalva quoted Farley as saying at the end of the ordeal during which about two dozen other ESL employees hid throughout the building in the heart of the Silicon Valley.
Farley was being held Wednesday at the Santa Clara County Jail in San Jose. A court date was not set. Police Capt. Al Scott said Farley probably would be charged with seven counts of murder, several counts of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
Police said the motive for the attack was Farley's infatuation with Laura Black, 26, a promising ESL electrical engineer. She was wounded in the shoulder and admitted to a nearby hospital where she underwent surgery and was reported in stable condition.
Farley had been scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to answer a harassment complaint filed by Black. Because of the shooting, the complaint was heard without him and a permanent injunction was granted by Santa Clara County Commissioner Lois Kittle.
Police said the court action apparently precipitated the attack.
'He had decided to go through with this in the last couple of days to show the people who had laughed at him and show he wasn't a wimp,' said Grijalva. 'He thought this was the only way to get back at her.'
Black's attorney, Mary Bird, said the woman met Farley in April 1984 at work.
'He developed a very sick obsession with her,' Bird said. 'His obsession continued even after he was fired. She was hoping that ignoring him would cool his ardor, but that didn't work, so she sought legal assistance.'
On Feb. 8, Farley followed Black to an early morning class she was taking at Santa Clara University and placed a 'bizarre' love note on her car, Bird said.
The note read: 'HEA, HOT DOG, How am I suppose to ask you dancing when you keep hanging up? You can dance, can't you? Love and Kisses, Rick.'
Bird said Farley called Black at work Feb. 6, and she hung up on him.
She said Farley had been 'harassing and intimidating' Black for years, following her home and to work, and even joining the fitness center where she went to do aerobics.
'She never led him on,' Bird said. 'She is a professional woman and she treated him with the same respect that she treated all of her co-workers.'
Grijalva said Farley told him he had not intended to kill Black but wanted her to live so she would feel guilt over his attack.
TRW, ESL's parent company, hired a team of counselors to meet with employees, victims and families, said ESL spokeswoman Edie Cartwright.
ESL, where 2,500 people work at a six-building complex, was open for business Wednesday, but the M-5 building, where the shooting occurred, remained closed.
Cartwright said Farley had worked there for 10 years.
It was the second recent mass murder involving someone whose romantic advances were rejected by a former co-worker. A retired Air Force Sgt. Gene Simmons, was accused of killing 16 people, including 14 relatives in December 1987 in Russellville, Ark., in the biggest family mass murder in U.S. history. One of the victims was a former co-worker who rejected Simmons, police said.
Captain Scott said Farley was an 11-year Navy veteran 'with a lifetime hobby' of guns.
Farley, described by former co-workers and neighbors as a loner, was armed with a high-powered rifle, a 12-gauge repeating shotgun, four handguns and two bandoleers of ammunition criss-crossed across his chest when he stormed the M-5 building of the defense electronics company. The handguns were described as a 9mm semi-automatic, two semi-automatic .380s and a .45-caliber revolver.
When Farley confronted people on the first floor, he began shooting. Police said he then went to the second floor where he saw Black and she slammed a door in his face. He shot at her through the door. Police responded after Black and other employees made frantic telephone calls to headquarters.
The dead -- five men and two women -- and wounded were on both the first and second floors, police said. All were killed by shotgun blasts, Scott said.
They were identified as Joe Silva, 43, Buddy Williams, 23, Glenda Moritz, 27, Ron Reed, 26, Helen Lamparter, 49, Lawrence Kane, 46, and Ron Doney, 36, all ESL employees.
Scott also said Farley 'made it a point to fire into the screens of numerous computer terminals' and many locked doors.
'One victim was still sitting at his desk when he was shot through a closed door,' Scott said.
For years, Farley had been taking classes at various Northern California comunity colleges and transferred to San Jose State University in 1985, where he is enrolled in two classes as a senior majoring in math and computer science.
Farley, a bachelor who recently dated a San Jose State computer science student, was fired as a computer software technician in May 1986 for 'poor job performance,' a spokesman for the TRW Inc. subsidiary said. He held a Defense Department secrect clearance.
Since October, he had worked in the software development department at Covalent Systems Corp. in Sunnyvale.
Norma Kessler, an employee who hid in her office, told reporters: 'I saw a man walk up, and I didn't really pay attention and then, just shortly later, I heard bang, large bangs, and I realized it must be shots.
'I was in the office by myself, and I closed the door, and it locked and I got underneath my desk. And I must have heard about 50 different shots over a period of time.'
Police found a rented motor home near the M-5 building they believe was driven by Farley. Inside, they said, was found a quantity of ammunition, full cans of gasoline and other explosive material.
Police said Farley was a native of Texas and lived alone in a dilapidated rented house. They said his life began to fall apart after his dismissal at ESL. He lost a home in nearby Cupertino and ran up a $20,000 tax debt while spending all of his savings.
'I don't think he actually stayed at his house,' said Joe Nielsen, Farley's neighbor. 'I asked him one time, 'When are you going to move in?' and he said, 'When I get it cleaned up.' He seemed like a real easy-going fellow.'