Gunman scorned California garlic festival on social media before mass
Send a link to a friend
[July 30, 2019]
By Alexandria Sage
GILROY, Calif. (Reuters) - Police on Monday
identified a 19-year-old California man as the gunman who opened fire
with an assault rifle at a garlic festival in Gilroy, California,
killing three people and wounding about a dozen.
Santino William Legan, 19, cut through a fence at the festival on Sunday
evening and shot people, seemingly at random, with an "AK-47-style"
assault rifle, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee told reporters. Legan
was fatally shot within about a minute by police.
"It could have gone so much worse so fast," Smithee said, noting that
the festival, which takes place about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of
Silicon Valley, is attended by thousands of visitors.
Police and FBI agents were trying to determine a motive for the shooting
and investigating unconfirmed reports by witnesses that Legan may have
had an accomplice.
Smithee said that search warrants had been obtained for a home in Gilroy
associated with the suspect and a car that police believe he drove to
Legan killed a six-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a man in his
20s, Smithee said. Police believe Legan, who was originally from Gilroy,
purchased the rifle legally on July 9 in Nevada, where he had recently
At least 11 people were treated for wounds, a spokesman for the Santa
Clara Health System said late on Monday.
Of those shot, five remained at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center
Monday night, he said. Three of those were in serious or fair condition
and two wished to have no information released, he said.
Early police reports said that one person was in critical condition on
Another 10 people received other, non-life threatening injuries, the
hospital spokesman said, and were treated at St. Louise Regional
Seven of the victims ranged in age between 12 and 69, officials said.
Police had initially said that 15 people were wounded.
President Donald Trump described the gunman as a "wicked murderer"
during an event at the White House and asked Americans to pray for the
"We grieve for their families, and we ask that God will comfort them
with his overflowing mercy and grace," Trump said.
The gunman was believed to have cut through the fence in order to evade
metal detectors and other security measures at the entrance, police
Legan appeared to post a photograph from the festival on his Instagram
account shortly before the shooting, with captions expressing his
disdain for the event.
"Ayyy garlic festival time," he wrote beneath a picture of people
walking through the festival grounds. "Come get wasted on overpriced
[to top of second column]
Attendants are seen at a vigil outside of Gilroy City Hall during
the singing of the National Anthem honoring those that died and were
injured during a mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival a day
earlier, in Gilroy, California, U.S. July 29, 2019. Picture taken,
July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Kate Munsch
Another photograph posted on Sunday showed 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.
"Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for
hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?" the caption
said, referring to people of mixed race. The account was only a few
days old, and was deactivated on Monday.
Police said they had determined that a 20-year-old man who posted on
social media on Monday that he had "just shot up the G-festival" was
not involved in the incident and was just seeking attention.
Footage uploaded to social media showed festival attendees
scattering in fear and confusion as loud popping sounds could be
heard in the background.
Police declined to name the shooting victims on Monday but the Santa
Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner identified them as Stephen
Romero, six, and Keyla Salazar, 13, of San Jose, and Trevor Deon
Irby, 25, of Romulus, New York.
The boy's grandmother, Maribel Romero, described Stephen as a loving
boy who was "always kind, happy and ... playful."
His mother and his other grandmother were also shot and were being
treated in hospital, Maribel Romero told media.
A vigil was scheduled in Gilroy for the victims on Monday evening.
Founded in 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival is an annual event run
by volunteers and held outdoors at Christmas Hill Park. The
agricultural community bills itself as the "Garlic Capital of the
Weapons of any kind are prohibited, according to the event's
website, which also said anyone wearing clothing or paraphernalia
indicating membership in a gang, including a motorcycle club, would
be refused entry.
(Reporting by Alexandria SageAdditional reporting Brendan O'Brien in
Chicago, Jonathan Allen in New York, Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles,
and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Writing by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Nick
Zieminski, Jonathan Oatis and Lisa Shumaker)
[© 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2019 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Thompson Reuters is solely responsible for this content.