Gilroy is in mourning after Sunday’s shooting at its annual garlic festival, and Gilroy native Justin Villanueva says he never could have imagined a tragedy like this right in his hometown.
For Villanueva and his family, the garlic festival was something they looked forward to every year.
“I’ve been going to the garlic festival since I was a little kid, and it’s just such a happy setting where a lot of family and friends get together and it’s just to enjoy food and spend time together,” said Villanueva.
This year, instead of their usual Sunday at the garlic festival, Villanueva and his family went to Sonoma instead, and that decision could have ultimately saved his life.
However, he was surprised to hear the news from his friends and relatives who did attend.
“Getting a call from one of my friends running from the shooter when hearing them screaming and all that, it’s just very terrifying to know that I could have lost a loved one or friends and family, you know it’s just very heartbreaking,” said Villanueva.
Thankfully for Villanueva, his friends and family weren’t among those killed at the garlic festival, but he did have ties to one of the wounded.
“One of my close friend’s cousin’s ended up getting shot during this event, thankfully he’s okay he survived but it’s just heartbreaking,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva says he hopes his city will come out of this tragedy even stronger than before, “I just hope that my community is really able to bounce back off of this tragedy and hopefully we can come together and become stronger as a community,” said Villanueva.
Villanueva says before that can happen Gilroy has to mourn the losses of Sunday’s shooting but hopes people not just from Gilroy, but everywhere are able to donate to the gofundme pages for the three victims who were killed at the garlic festival.