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Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooter Likely Acted Alone

Sruti Mamidanna/KQED
Police cars and barriers are placed by the entrance of the Garlic Festival grounds to prevent anyone from entering the still active crime scene under investigation by FBI and law enforcement.

The gunman behind the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting likely acted alone. That’s the latest to come from the investigation into the mass shooting.  On Sunday, a 19-year-old gunman opened fire on a crowd at the festival. 


Krista Almanzan (KA)   KAZU’s Doug McKnight attended the latest briefing on the investigation and joins me now in the studio.  So what is Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee saying about the idea that the shooter had an accomplice?

Doug McKnight (DM)  As you might imagine, this part of the investigation has been a high priority because they want to put the community at ease and not have people worrying about whether there’s another shooter out there.  So Chief Smittee says so far the investigation is showing the shooter, 19-year-old Santino William Legan, acted alone.  

They have followed leads and tracked his movements around town via store surveillance videos before Sunday’s shooting.  And in all those videos, the shooter is by himself. 

Here’s more from Chief Smithee:

“So that is sort of supporting the thought now that that he acted on his own. But again I don't want to dissuade any witnesses or any people that saw things or have any information from continuing to come forward because we don't want to rule that out as at least a possibility until we've exhausted every single lead that is provided to us.”

And any witnesses who believe they have information that will help police can go to, or call (408) 864-0583

(KA)  The shooter killed three people at random.  6 year old Stephan Romero of San Jose,  13 year old Keyla Salazar also of San Jose and 25 year old Trevor Irby from Romulus, New York.  Have investigators gotten any closer to a motive?

(DM)  No. The Chief said that part of the investigation is likely to continue for a long time.  Beyond the massive crime scene at Christmas Hill Park, where the festival was held, investigators are looking for clues in an apartment in Nevada where the shooter lived for the past three months.  They also searched his parents’ home in Gilroy and located the car he used to get to the festival.

(KA) What did they find in the car?

(DM)  Police found a second weapon, a shotgun. They also searched a creek near Christmas Hill Park and found a bag of ammunition.

And I should mention, a big part of this investigation is looking at digital media. FBI Agent Craig Fair says looking at digital media is important in determining potential motive.

“A review of digital media, historically, has been very revealing in terms of somebodies mindset ideological beliefs intentions. We've got to we've got to get it to the computers the towers the thumb drives the phone to get a holistic picture of  him who is he who he was in touch with what sentiments and thoughts he shared with others or he's cataloged for his own consumption along with that,” says Agent Fair

How long that will take really depends on how quickly they can get access into the shooter’s devices.

(KA)  The crime scene is Christmas Hill Park -- a 51 acre piece of property in Gilroy.  During the shooting volunteers, vendors and festival goers just ran -- leaving behind everything from their cars to food booths.  Have police started letting people back in to gather their belongings?

(DM) Vendors and volunteers who left their cars behind at Christmas Hill Park were able to get them back beginning Tuesday and that will continue today between 1:00pm and 6:45.  Right now cars are only being released from two lots where vendors and volunteers parked. 

The first lot is the Volunteer Lot at West 10th Street and Uvas Parkway. The second lot is the Parkside Lot, south of Miller Avenue. Residents will need to go to Antonio Del Buono Elementary School, 9300 Wren Avenue Gilroy. They will be escorted to their vehicle.

Personal items are being handled by the FBI. Agent Fair said his office is trying to separate what are personal items and what might be evidence. As the items are cleared they will be taken to the Assistance Center at Rucker Elementary School in Gilroy where people can pick them up.

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