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The Latest: Hundreds turn out for vigil “We are Gilroy strong”

Posted at 9:04 PM, Jul 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-30 00:04:12-04

UPDATE (8:10 p.m.) — Hundreds of Gilroy residents have come to City Hall to light candles, comfort each other and show strength after Sunday night’s shooting that killed three people, including two children, ages 6 and 13.

A city councilor led residents Monday night in a chant of “We are Gilroy strong!”

The crowd cheered when Mayor Roland Velasco said the community “cannot let the bastard that did this tear us down.”

The 19-year-old gunman invaded the Gilroy Garlic Festival, which draws thousands of people from the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. He was slain by police.

Hundreds turn out for vigil Monday night in Gilroy after deadly shooting. Photo Courtesy: NBC Bay Area

UPDATE (6:30 p.m.)- A family member of a 13-year-old girl who was killed by a gunman at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California says the teenager may have inadvertently saved another relative’s life.

Keyla Salazar of San Jose was one of three people slain Sunday before police killed the attacker.

Keyla’s aunt says the teen was eating ice cream with family members when they heard gunshots and began to flee. Katiuska Vargas says her niece stayed back to keep pace with a relative who uses a cane and was shot with a bullet that otherwise might have hit that woman.

Vargas says Keyla’s stepfather was wounded as he went back for her.

Vargas says she and Keyla’s mother at first didn’t know where Keyla was taken for treatment, so they drove to every local hospital several times.

The girl later died at a Gilroy hospital.

Keyla’s two sisters, ages 4 and 12, also were at the festival, but they escaped unharmed.

WATCH LIVE: Gilroy Police Dept. provides an update on the Garlic Festival shooting investigation.

Posted by KSBY on Monday, July 29, 2019


5:30 p.m.

Authorities say the people shot and wounded by a gunman at a California food festival ranged in age from 12 to 69 years old.

Santa Clara County officials say 13 people were taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds after Sunday’s attack at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy.

One died at a hospital. Another person remains in critical condition and one is in serious condition.

Several others have been released or transferred to other medical centers.

A total of three people were fatally wounded before police killed the 19-year-old gunman. They included a 6-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a 25-year-old man.


4:25 p.m.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee says it’s too early in the investigation to determine if any of the victims were targeted, or if he the shooter fired indiscriminately Sunday at a food festival in the city.

“The descriptions that have been given to me, it appeared as though it (the shooting) was random. But I think we’re too early in the investigation to say that definitively,” Smithee said. He says investigators are still compiling a list of everyone wounded.

Authorities say they have served two search warrants associated with the shooting that killed three people.

Smithee says investigators searched the vehicle the shooter, Santino William Legan, drove to the Garlic Festival on Sunday.

Smithee says police also searched a residence associated with Legan. He didn’t say what, if anything, the searches turned up.

Craig Fair, deputy special agent in charge at the FBI’s San Francisco office, said investigators were combing through the suspect’s social media profiles as they worked to try to determine a motive for the shooting.

NBC News


UPDATE (4:11 p.m.) – Authorities in northern Nevada say they searched an apartment believed to have been used by the 19-year-old man responsible for the California garlic festival shooting that killed two children and a recent college graduate.

Mineral County District Attorney Sean Rowe confirmed the search by the FBI and local sheriff’s deputies of one of three homes in a modest stucco single-story building overlooking Walker Lake a few miles north of Hawthorne, Nevada.

Mineral County Sheriff Randy Adams called the investigation ongoing and declined in a statement to provide information about what was sought or found.

A spokeswoman for the FBI in Nevada declined to comment.

Another apartment in the triplex appeared to be vacant, and no one answered the door at the third.


3:37 p.m.

Vendors at California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival say a 10-year-old girl saved their bosses’ 3-year-old son from harm after a gunman shot at their tent, wounding the toddler’s parents.

Candice Marquez told The Associated Press on Monday that she was working the Honey Ladies stand with Cheryl Low when they stepped away to go to nearby portable restrooms.

When they left the restrooms, they heard what they said sounded like fireworks. They looked to their left and saw a shooter putting another clip into a gun and heading toward the Honey Ladies tent.

Marquez says she and Low ran in the other direction while the gunman continued.

While this was happening, Marquez says, her 10-year-old niece was still in the tent and helped their bosses’ 3-year-old son to safety under a table.

“She was brave. She grabbed him and put him under a table,” Marquez said of the girl.

Marquez says her niece told her she looked the gunman right in the eye, but that he didn’t shoot.


1:20 p.m.

A northern Nevada gun shop says the gunman in the California festival shooting purchased his rifle through the store’s online shop and appeared happy and presented “no reasons for concern” when he appeared in person.

Big Mike’s Guns and Ammo in Fallon posted on the shop’s Facebook page that “we are heartbroken this could ever happen,” and the business “would never sell any firearm to anyone who acted wrong or looks associated with any bad group like white power.”

The post’s author, who signed off as “Mike,” said he did not know the gunman, but “when I did see him, he was acting happy and show no reasons for concern.”

A law enforcement official said investigators believe the gunman used a WASR-10, which was purchased from Big Mikes Gun and Ammo in Nevada earlier this month. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity

– Associated Press reporter Michael Balsamo in Washington

UPDATE (1:07 p.m.) – One of the three people killed in a shooting at California’s Gilroy Garlic Festival has been identified as a recent graduate of a college in upstate New York.

Keuka College President Amy Storey says in a statement Monday that Trevor Irby, a biology major who graduated in 2017, was among the victims of the Sunday shooting.

Keuka College is about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southwest of Syracuse, New York.

The others killed were a 6-year-old boy, Stephen Romero, and a 13-year-old girl whose name has not been released.

Authorities say three police officers fatally shot the gunman.

UPDATE (12:17 p.m) – The gunman in the California festival shooting appears to have posted two photos on Instagram that day, including one minute before he opened fire.

Police say Santino William Legan killed three victims and wounded 12 others Sunday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Legan’s since-deleted Instagram account says he is Italian and Iranian. It also shows a photo he posted earlier depicting Smokey the Bear in front of a “fire danger” sign. In the caption, Legan said to read “Might is Right,” a book published in the 1800s.

The philosophy says that whoever is strongest is morally right.

Minutes before the shooting, he posted a photo from the festival: “Ayyy garlic festival time” and “come get wasted on overpriced (stuff).”

UPDATE (10:25 a.m.) – Authorities say the shooter who attacked a California food festival used an assault-type rifle and opened fire on three local police officers who immediately responded.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee says even though the handgun-equipped officers were outgunned, the officers were able to quickly fatally shoot the gunman.

The shooting occurred on the closing day of the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival.

The gunman killed a 6-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl and a man in his 20s. There’s no immediate word on the other 15 people who were either wounded or suffered injuries such as scrapes and bruises.

Smithee says the motive remains unknown. Police are still investigating whether there is a second suspect.

Gilroy police hold press conference on Garlic Festival shooting

Posted by KSBY on Monday, July 29, 2019


At least three people were killed, including a 6-year-old boy, and 12 others wounded in a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California after a suspect wearing tactical gear and armed with an assault rifle opened fire, authorities and witnesses said Sunday night.

The suspect, who a federal law enforcement official identified as Santino William Legan, 19, was shot and killed by the police. CNN reports Monday morning, several police cars were outside the home of Legan’s father in Gilroy.

A woman who lives across the street from the family of a man who opened fire at California food festival says SWAT officers came to the home.

Jan Dickson says the officers ordered those inside to come out with their hands up Sunday night and one person did. She says the parents had four boys: one who’s a boxer and another who’s a runner.

Dickson said Monday that they were “a nice, normal family.” She says Santino William Legan hadn’t lived there for at least a year.

“It’s sort of a nightmare you hope you never have to live in reality,” Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said at a news conference Sunday night.

Another news conference is expected today at 10 a.m.

Smithee said the suspect appeared to be firing “somewhat randomly,” and that investigators had no information on a possible motive. He said that police believed a second person may have been involved but that they didn’t know in what way. One of those killed was 6-year-old Steven Romero who was at the festival with this mother and grandmother, who were also injured in the shooting.

6-year-old Steven Romero killed at the Garlic Festival.

Those with gunshot wounds went to two hospitals after the shooting at one of the largest food festivals in the United States, said Joy Alexiou, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Public Health System. Three had been treated and released late Sunday, and the rest were in fair to critical condition, she said.

Eight more people were injured in other ways at the popular festival — a three-day food fair featuring producers and live entertainment that began in 1979 to celebrate the local garlic industry, she said.

Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco declared a proclamation of a local emergency early Monday morning, as the investigation into the shooting continues.

Gilroy City Council member Dion Bracco and a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told NBC News that three people had been pronounced dead.

“I would ask for the thoughts and prayers of the community as our officers continue to investigate this tragic and senseless crime,” Mayor Roland Velasco said.

The San Francisco Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said it was responding to the scene in Gilroy, about 30 miles southeast of San Jose. The festival was near the end of its third and final day when the gunshots were reported at about 5:41 p.m., said Smithee, who added that the gunman appeared to have cut through a fence to get into the event.

Law enforcement descends on Garlic Festival after deadly shooting Sunday night.

Julissa Contreras, a witness who said she was a former police cadet, said in an interview Sunday night that she saw “your average white guy” firing what appeared to be a semi-automatic rifle, “kind of just going left to right and shooting whoever he could, honestly.”

Contreras said the man, who she said didn’t say anything, paused and appeared to reload.

“He definitely shot off more than 30 rounds,” she said. “It was just like nonstop — just like two, three, four shots a second.”

Contreras described the man as in his 30s, wearing a cap, sports sunglasses and what appeared to military-style clothing.

“He looked like, oh, he could work private security,” she said. “But he had, like, straps and clips, and he was completely prepared for what he was doing. Absolutely.”

Maximo Rocha, a volunteer with the Gilroy Browns, a Pop Warner youth football team, said he saw many people on the ground, although he couldn’t be sure how many may have been shot and how many may have been trying to protect themselves.

But he told NBC Bay Area that “quite a few” of them were injured in some fashion, “because I helped a few.”

Gloria Parker, another witness, told the station that she and other people began running when they heard 10 to 15 bangs that they initially thought were firecrackers.

“There was tons of cops there,” she said.

Another eyewitness, Ryan Wallace, who was working at the event as a vendor, told NBC Bay Area that the shooter was dressed in police-style uniform and was “spraying out rounds all around” while “walking like a police, like he wanted to get stuff done.”

Cheryl Low and Candice Marquez, who were also working at the festival when the shooting occurred, told “Today” on Monday morning they were only about 10 to 15 feet away from the shooter when they noticed him.

Low’s boss and her boss’ husband were both shot and brought to the hospital, the latter hit three times and now in critical condition. Low’s granddaughter, in a nearby tent, helped shield the three-year old son of her grandma’s boss during the shooting.

Garlic Festival law enforcement. Photo Courtesy: NBC Bay Area

“She was a hero,” Marquez said. “She grabbed him and saved his life.”

Addressing suggestions that security at the event could have been tighter, Contreras said: “Honestly, security was great. They weren’t extremely invasive, but they checked my fanny pack and my backpack, and I felt they were thorough.

“You know, metal detectors are not going to really deter or do anything to someone who’s carrying a semiautomatic rifle that’s very visible,” she said.

Contreras said she wasn’t particularly shocked by the shooting.

“It’s a shame that it’s happening, but I think this is just a reflection of the current political climate, wherein people are feeling more comfortable being violent,” she said.

“This is the America we live in now, which I’m kind of ashamed to say as a U.S. citizen.”

The garlic festival draws celebrity chefs from around the country, and live performances by musicians. On Saturday “Top Chef” host Tom Colicchio attended, tweeting on Sunday after the shooting “prayers go out to all.”