Gilroy Police Answer Questions About Garlic Festival Shooting
New details are emerging about the shooting Sunday night at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Police say an alleged gunman killed three people. The victims include two children and one adult.
KAZU’s Doug McKnight was a police briefing Monday morning and joins me in the studio.
Erika Mahoney (EM): So Doug, what can you tell us about the victims?
Doug McKnight (DM): There are three victims. According to the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office, the victims include a six-year-old boy named Stephen Romero, a 13-year-old girl named Keyla Salazar and a 20-year-old man who hasn’t been named yet. Fifteen others were injured and taken to hospitals in Gilroy and the Bay Area
Here’s Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee: “Well I think anytime a life is lost it's a tragedy. But when it's young people it's even worse.”
The Chief was visibly shaken and added they still don’t know the motive for the shooting.
(EM): What are police telling us about what unfolded?
(DM): Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said there were officers scattered throughout the festival. So when the call came in, three officers responded immediately. They confronted the suspected shooter. The police chief says the suspect was armed with an AK 47-style rifle.
Police were out-armed, with just handguns, but were able to kill the suspected shooter.
Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco says officers responded quickly, within less than a minute.
“It takes remarkable bravery to run to a shooting when the natural reaction for all of us is to run away. We are so proud of our law enforcement who undoubtedly saved many lives by putting their own lives in danger,” says Velasco.
The mayor says police potentially prevented a lot of bloodshed.
(EM): And what do we know about the alleged gunman?
(DM): Police say the shooting suspect is a 19-year old Gilroy resident; Santino William Legan. The police chief said the rifle used was purchased legally in Nevada less than three weeks ago.
This investigation is still ongoing. Police still searching for a possible second suspect.
(EM): Doug, knowing that festival goers just ran out of the park… can you tell us about what the scene is like now at the festival?
(DM): The festival takes place at Christmas Hill Park. The entire area is now a crime scene, not just where the shooting occurred.
The police chief says people just ran and left their belongings. Law enforcement has setup a perimeter around the park and no one will be allowed back in until they’re done collecting evidence. One vendor asked police this morning when he could get back in. At this point, he is still waiting at this point to get back to his booth.
(EM): How is the community reacting?
(DM): The Garlic Festival has been going on for 41 years and today draws about 100,000 people. The annual festival celebrates Gilroy’s deep agricultural roots, garlic being one of the top crops.
Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco says the community is resilient and will get through this. But also said you never expect such tragedy in your own town.
Here’s Mayor Roland Velasco: “Mass gun violence is an epidemic in the United States. And yet one never imagined such a thing can happen here in our beautiful community.”
Police have a hotline and are asking for anyone with pictures, video or information to call. That number is 408-846-0583. You can also find that number on our website at kazu dot org.
(EM): Thank you Doug. We’ll keep you updated on this story as information comes in. I’m Erika Mahoney, this is KAZU News.