FBI opens domestic terror investigation into Gilroy, Calif., mass
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[August 07, 2019]
By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) - The FBI has opened a domestic
terrorism investigation into a California mass shooting by a 19-year-old
gunman who killed three people at a food festival last week, officials
said on Tuesday.
Authorities have said they still do not know what motivated Santino
William Legan, 19, to fire an assault-style rifle into a crowd in
Gilroy, California, on July 28. His victims included a 6-year-old boy
and a 13-year-old girl.
Police officers exchanged gunfire with Legan, who was wearing a
bullet-resistant vest, and struck him, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee
said at a news conference on Tuesday. Legan killed himself with a
gunshot to the head.
Investigators have discovered he kept a list that appeared to have
targets of violence, John Bennett, the FBI agent in charge in the San
Francisco office, told the news conference.
One of those potential targets was the one he attacked, the annual
Gilroy Garlic Festival, Bennett said. The decades-old event celebrates
produce from California's countryside and is held about 70 miles (110
km) south of San Francisco.
"The shooter appeared to have an interest in varying, competing violent
ideologies," Bennett told reporters.
"Due to the discovery of the target list, as well as other information
we have encountered in this investigation, the FBI has opened a full
domestic terrorism investigation into this mass shooting."
Before the shooting, Legan had posted on his Instagram page a photograph
showing a sign warning of a high danger of forest fires. Its caption
urged people to read "Might is Right," a racist and sexist treatise
written in the 19th century.
FBI investigators are considering Legan's Instagram posts as they seek
to determine his motivation and are exploring whether he was motivated
by white nationalism, Bennett said.
[to top of second column]
A painting by Gilroy resident Ignacio "Nacho" Moya on the stage at a
vigil for those who died and were injured at the mass shooting at
the Gilroy Garlic Festival a day earlier, in Gilroy, California,
U.S. July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
Legan's target list, which he kept on at least one digital device,
had organizations from across the country and included religious
institutions and political organizations affiliated with both the
Democratic and Republican parties, Bennett said.
Legan left no manifesto, Bennett said, declining to provide other
details on his ideological leanings.
Legan fired 39 rounds and the three officers who confronted him
fired 18, Smithee said, and Legan had more than 200 rounds of
ammunition on or near his body.
Legan's family in a statement on Tuesday apologized to the families
of the three people he killed and to the wounded, according to the
Los Angeles Times.
"We have never and would never condone the hateful thoughts and
ideologies that led to this event, and it is impossible to reconcile
this with the son we thought we knew," the statement said.
Members of Legan's family could not immediately be reached for
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Bill
Tarrant and Jonathan Oatis)
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