California stunned by garlic festival shooting

Three people were killed and 15 were wounded at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. California Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Trump condemned the violence.

Nhat V. Meyer/San Jose Mercury News/AP
Attendees leave the Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 28, 2019 in Gilroy, California after a gunman open fired, killing three and leaving several hospitalized. The annual food festival attracts more than 100,000 people to the city known as the "Garlic Capital of the World."

A shooter cut through a fence and opened fire on a crowd eating and listening to music at a popular food festival in California, killing three people, including a 6-year-old boy, and wounding about 15 others before police killed him, authorities said.

A law enforcement official said the gunman was identified as Santino William Legan and believed he was 19. The official wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday.

Police searched the Legan family's two-story Gilroy home and a dusty car parked outside before leaving the house Monday with paper bags and what appeared to be other evidence.

The shooter appeared to randomly target people when fired with a rifle Sunday afternoon, the end of the three-day Gilroy Garlic Festival that attracts more than 100,000 people to the city known as the "Garlic Capital of the World," Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said.

The shooter sneaked in through a fence that borders a parking lot next to a creek. Police responded within a minute and killed the suspect, Mr. Smithee said.

Some witnesses reported a second suspect, Mr. Smithee said, but it was unclear whether that person was armed or just helped in some way. A manhunt continued Monday.

Six-year-old Stephen Romero was among those killed, his father said. The boy's grandmother, Maribel Romero, told ABC7 News he was "always kind, happy and, you know, playful."

The wounded were taken to multiple hospitals, and their conditions ranged from fair to critical, with some in surgery Sunday night. At least five were treated and released.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival features food, cooking contests and music. It's a decades-old staple in the agricultural city of 50,000 about 80 miles southeast of San Francisco. Security is tight – festival-goers pass through metal detectors and their bags are searched.

On Sunday, the band TinMan was starting an encore with the song "We're an American Band" when the shooting started.

Singer Jack van Breen said he saw a man wearing a green shirt and grayish handkerchief around his neck fire into the food area with what looked like an assault rifle. Van Breen and other members of the band dove under the stage.

Mr. Van Breen, from nearby Santa Clara, said he heard someone shout: "Why are you doing this?" and the reply: "Because I'm really angry."

Their audience began screaming and running, and the five members of TinMan and others dove under the stage.

Mr. Van Breen's bandmate, Vlad Malinovsky of Walnut Creek, California, said he heard a lot of shots and then it stopped. Later, law enforcement came by and told the band members and others hiding with them to come out with their hands up.

Taylor Jackson was working at a booth drawing caricatures of festival-goers when she heard gunfire, saw people running and "ran for the hills." She said her boss ran in the opposite direction. Several hours later, Ms. Jackson was at a reunification center trying to get information on her whereabouts.

Donna Carlson of Reno, Nevada, was helping a friend at a jewelry booth when "all of a sudden it was pop, pop, pop. And I said, 'I sure hope that's fireworks.'" She got on her hands and knees and hid behind a table until police told her it was safe to leave.

In a tweet, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the bloodshed "nothing short of horrific" and expressed appreciation for the police response. President Donald Trump tweeted before authorities confirmed the gunman was dead and urged people to "be careful and safe!"

This story was reported by The Associated Press. Associated Press reporter Mike Balsamo contributed to this story from Washington.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.