UPDATED: Shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival kills 3
(UPDATED 2:40 p.m.) Police are investigating a shooting that has left three people dead at the 41st annual Gilroy Garlic Festival, including a 6-year-old boy.
A man opened fire at the popular food festival on its third and last night July 28. Police say they killed the gunman, identified as Santino William Legan, 19, but are searching for a possible accomplice.
Festival organizers posted a statement on its website July 29.
“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and everyone affected by this horrific event,” according to the statement. “We are offering any and all resources available to support our community and law enforcement. We ask for your prayers and understanding at this incredibly difficult time.”
Tom Nassif, CEO of Western Growers, Irvine, Calif., released a statement on the shooting, calling it a “horrific tragedy” that has affected association members and employees.
“Many of our members farm in the Gilroy area, and we know this tragedy has shaken them and all our members on the Central Coast,” according to Nassif’s statement. “The Western Growers family extends our deepest condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.”
Shawn Keck, president of the festival, said the festival staff and volunteers are “heartbroken that senseless violence brought this year’s festival to such a terrible and tragic end.”
Keck thanked the Gilroy Police Department for intervening and preventing more deaths, and the first responders and law enforcement agencies who are investigating.
“We are also thankful for the thoughts and prayers and outpouring of support from people all over the world,” Keck said in the release.
At a July 28 press conference, Brian Bowe, executive director of the festival, said Gilroy is a tight-knit community.
“We have had the wonderful opportunity in this community to celebrate our family through our Garlic Festival, and for over four decades that festival has been our annual family reunion,” he said during the conference. “It's such a sad, just horribly upsetting circumstance that this happened on the third and final day of this year's festival.”
A motive is unknown, but witnesses said the gunman appeared to be firing randomly with an assault rifle, according to media reports.
Fifteen others were wounded during the shooting. Police said they engaged the suspect within a minute of the first shots. They believe he entered the festival by cutting through fencing.
The boy has been identified as 6-year-old Stephen Lucuiano Romero, San Jose, whose grandmother was also injured, according to media reports.
It’s unknown how many people were one the festival grounds at the time, but organizers say it draws hundreds of thousands to Gilroy each year.