Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting

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Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting
Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy California USA, March 2017.jpg
The venue, Christmas Hill Park, in 2017
LocationGilroy, California, U.S.
Coordinates36°59′52″N 121°35′7″W / 36.99778°N 121.58528°W / 36.99778; -121.58528Coordinates: 36°59′52″N 121°35′7″W / 36.99778°N 121.58528°W / 36.99778; -121.58528
DateJuly 28, 2019 (2019-07-28)
5:40 p.m. (PDT (UTC−7))
Attack type
Mass shooting, murder-suicide
WeaponsWASR-10[1] semi-automatic rifle
Deaths4 (including the perpetrator)[2]
PerpetratorSantino William Legan[2]

A mass shooting occurred at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, on July 28, 2019. The gunman killed three people and wounded 17 others before committing suicide after a shootout with responding police officers.[3][4]

As of 2020, investigators had not determined the motives of the gunman, identified as 19-year-old Santino William Legan. The FBI opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the incident.[5]


The Garlic Festival, 2018

The Gilroy Garlic Festival is an annual three-day event held at Christmas Hill Park.[6] One of the nation's best-known food festivals, centered on garlic, it draws 80,000[7] to 100,000[8] visitors from around the country and is described as a family event.[9] Located about 30 miles (48 km) southeast of San Jose and the Silicon Valley area, Gilroy is home to about 60,000 people, and the city is a major producer of garlic.[6] As Gilroy's top fundraising event, the Garlic Festival is staffed with volunteers to raise money for nonprofit groups, including clubs and schools.[9]


The shooting occurred during the 41st annual gathering of the festival on Sunday, July 28, 2019—its third and final day—shortly before the scheduled closing at 6:00 p.m.[9] The gunman entered the festival by using bolt cutters to cut through a wire fence along Uvas Creek, thus evading security screening.[10][11] He was armed with a WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle[12] equipped with a 75-round drum magazine, and he was also wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying five extra magazines of 40 rounds each.[4]

The gunman opened fire on festival-goers near an inflatable slide, ultimately shooting 39 rounds.[10][4] Eyewitnesses described a white man wearing a green shirt and a grayish handkerchief around his neck firing into the food area.[13][14] Witnesses reported that he appeared to be firing at random.[15] Jack van Breen, the lead singer of the local band TinMan (which was performing an encore when the shooting began) told KPIX-TV that he heard someone shout, "Why are you doing this?" The gunman's response was, "Because I'm really angry."[16]

Police at the scene engaged him within a minute of the first shots being fired, firing 18 rounds and hitting the gunman several times.[4] The police chief credited the fast response to a heavy police presence with "many, many officers in the park".[17] The three officers were placed on administrative leave per standard procedures when they fire their service weapons in the line of duty.[18] While initial reports indicated that the gunman was killed by the police, the Santa Clara County coroner reported on August 2 that the gunman died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,[2][19][20][21] after officers had already shot him multiple times.[4]

Along with the Gilroy Police Department, the San Francisco Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and 30 FBI agents also responded to the scene.[22]


Three people—Stephen Romero, age 6; Keyla Salazar, age 13; and Trevor Deon Irby, age 25—were killed, all by single gunshots to the torso.[2][10][23][24] An additional 17 people were wounded.[3]

The Santa Clara County Healthcare System's two hospitals treated 19 patients, including the gunman. Some were also treated but not admitted. The patients ranged in age from 12 to 69; 11 had gunshot injuries and eight had other injuries.[25] Two victims were also reported hospitalized at Stanford Hospital.[26]


Santino William Legan, a 19-year-old male, was identified by authorities as the shooter.[27][28] Police believe he acted alone.[18][29] Legan spent most of his life in Gilroy and attended Monte Vista Christian School through his freshman to junior years and graduated from Gilroy High School, but in the months before the shooting lived in the remote town of Walker Lake in Mineral County, Nevada.[30][31] He purchased the rifle used in the shooting in Fallon, Nevada, on July 9, three weeks before the festival.[1] The possession and sale of the weapon are banned in California, but legal in Nevada.[12]

An Instagram account was opened four days before the shooting by a Santino William Legan of the same age,[17] who self-identified as being of Italian and Iranian descent.[32] On the day of the shooting, Legan made two posts to the account, one of which complained about the event congesting the countryside with "hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats" and instructed people to read the 19th-century book Might Is Right, a pseudonymous proto-fascist manifesto that promotes racial violence and anti-Semitism and is popular in white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles.[17][33]


Authorities discovered a Remington 870 shotgun inside Legan's car.[4] Police and federal agents searched Legan's father's house in Gilroy.[25] Investigators also searched the gunman's apartment in Walker Lake, Nevada, where they reportedly discovered a bulletproof vest, empty shotgun and rifle boxes, a gas mask, and empty ammunition boxes, and pamphlets on guns; investigators also confiscated three hard drives and three thumb drives.[34]

Investigators have not determined a motive for the attack.[4][28] Brian Levin of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino stated that research has shown some mass shooters have "a broad range of motivations and, at times, conflicting ideologies, which can make it difficult to classify attacks and pinpoint their motivations."[4] Searches found that Legan owned both left-wing and right-wing literature,[35][28] including reading material on white supremacy and Islamic extremism.[34] The investigation turned up evidence that Legan had been "exploring violent ideologies" and had created a list of potential targets, including the Garlic Festival as well as "religious organizations, courthouses, federal buildings and political institutions involving both the Republican and Democratic parties." Because of this list, a domestic terrorism probe has been opened.[4]

The Santa Clara County district attorney report, released in March 2020, stated, "In light of the grave circumstances of this case, [law enforcement's] actions were unquestionably lawful and justified."[36]


U.S. President Donald Trump offered condolences and thanked law enforcement on Monday, July 29.[37] California's junior U.S. senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris expressed gratitude toward the first responders, as did California's governor Gavin Newsom.[38] The governor visited with survivors and the families of victims on Monday. While stating he supported the Second Amendment, he said he would like national cooperation controlling "weapons of goddamned mass destruction".[39] Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3), who was attending the festival along with his wife, released a brief statement thanking the first responders and calling for legislative action against gun violence in the U.S.[40] Other lawmakers also issued statements about the incident.[41]

Organizations, such as March for Our Lives and Moms Demand Action, and people, such as the former spokesperson for the National Rifle Association and many celebrities, also responded.[42]

The owner of the Nevada firearm store visited by the perpetrator before the shooting and supposedly where he purchased the weapon off an Internet page, posted a Facebook message stating that he felt heartbroken and that "this goes against everything I believe in" and remarked that the shooter ought to "rot in hell".[43]

The shooting was highlighted by Pope Francis during a speech in St. Peter's Square on August 4, 2019, following the shootings in El Paso and Dayton, in which he condemned attacks on defenseless people; the pope said that he was spiritually close to the victims, the wounded and the families affected by the attacks that had "bloodied Texas, California, and Ohio".[44]

In response to the shooting, in early September 2019, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously declared the National Rifle Association a domestic terrorist organization. Supervisor Catherine Stefani stated, "The N.R.A. exists to spread pro-gun propaganda and put weapons in the hands of those who would harm and terrorize us ... Nobody has done more to fan the flames of gun violence than the N.R.A."[45]

In January 2020, the Gilroy Strong Resilience Center opened to support survivors of the mass shooting.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Source: Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter's rifle was legal in Nevada, banned in California". San Francisco Chronicle. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs (August 2, 2019). "Gilroy Gunman Fatally Shot Himself After Killing 3 at Garlic Festival". New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c "Police say a 17th person was wounded in Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. August 29, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Fry, Hannah; Winton, Richard (August 6, 2019). "Gilroy shooter's target list prompts domestic terrorism probe by FBI". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ Eric Levenson; Cheri Mossburg (August 6, 2019). "Gilroy festival shooter had a 'target list' with religious and political groups". CNN. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  6. ^ a b Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas; Fortin, Jacey (July 28, 2019). "Gilroy Festival Shooting in California Kills at Least 3". The New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  7. ^ Holtzclaw, Barry (August 8, 2018). "Attendance off 20% at Garlic Festival". Gilroy Dispatch. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  8. ^ "Over 102,000 Visitors Celebrate Bigger, Better, Bolder Gilroy Garlic Festival". Gilroy Garlic Festival. August 2, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Vo, Thy; Sulek, Julia Prodis; Green, Jason (July 28, 2019). "Four dead, including suspect, and at least 15 hurt after shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival". The Mercury News. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Report on the Non-Fatal Shooting of Santino Legan on July 28, 2019" (PDF). Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. Retrieved March 16, 2020.
  11. ^ "At least 4 dead, 15 wounded in shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival in San Francisco Bay area". CBS News. July 28, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "Source: Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter's rifle was legal in Nevada, banned in California". San Francisco Chronicle. July 29, 2019.
  13. ^ Ho, Vivian (July 28, 2019). "California garlic festival shooting: gunman kills at least three at Gilroy event". The Guardian. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  14. ^ "At least 3 dead, 15 injured in Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting; gunman also dead". Los Angeles Times. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  15. ^ "Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting: Suspect Santino William Legan, 19, identified as gunman who allegedly killed 3 people". ABC News. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  16. ^ "Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting: Alleged Shooter Screamed Out "I'm Really Angry"". CBS San Francisco. July 29, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c "Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting: Alleged Shooter Screamed Out "I'm Really Angry"". CBS San Francisco. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  18. ^ a b Cuevas, Eduardo; Szydlowski, Joe (July 30, 2019). "Police: Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting investigation indicates no second suspect involved". The Californian. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  19. ^ "Coroner: Gunman In Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting Killed Himself, Contradicting Police Account". KPIX. August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  20. ^ Ormseth, Matthew; Winton, Richard (August 2, 2019). "Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter killed himself, coroner says, contradicting police version of events". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  21. ^ Castañeda, Leonardo; Green, Jason; Woo, Erin (August 2, 2019). "Coroner: Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter died from suicide". The Mercury News. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  22. ^ "ATF, local law enforcement respond to reported shooting in Gilroy". Fox News. July 28, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  23. ^ Bree Burkit; J. Edward Moreno; Kristin Lam; Elizabeth Weise (July 30, 2019). "'A tragedy': California mourns victims of Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting". USA Today. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  24. ^ "Police seek motive for shooting at California garlic festival". Reuters. July 30, 2019. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting: 2 Children, Recent College Grad Killed; Suspected Gunman Identified". CBS San Francisco. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  26. ^ "Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting: 3 victims killed by gunman identified, 2 of them children". WSOC-TV. July 31, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  27. ^ "What we know about Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting suspect Santino William Legan". Los Angeles Times. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  28. ^ a b c Barr, Luke (August 1, 2019). "'Erroneous reporting' on Garlic Festival shooting suspect's ideology: FBI". ABC News. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  29. ^ Simon, Darran (July 30, 2019). "There was likely no second shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, police say". CNN. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  30. ^ David Montero, Clues to Gilroy shooting found in remote Nevada town: Ammo, gas mask, extremist writings, Los Angeles Times (July 31, 2019).
  31. ^ "Santino William Legan: What we know about Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting suspect". ABC7 San Francisco. August 1, 2019.
  32. ^ Gore, Leada (July 29, 2019). "Who is Santino William Legan? Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting suspect: 3 killed; What we know today". Advance Local. Alabama Media Group. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  33. ^ Collins, Ben (July 29, 2019). "Instagram account connected to Gilroy shooter pushed staple of white supremacist Internet forums". NBC News. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  34. ^ a b Matthias Gafni; Dustin Gardiner; Tatiana Sanchez; Karen de Sá (July 30, 2019). "Search of Gilroy gunman's home finds items suggesting massive attack, white supremacy materials". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved August 1, 2019.
  35. ^ Smith, Mitch Smith, Rick Rojas; Rojas, Rick; Robertson, Campbell (August 6, 2019). "Mass Shootings Updates: The F.B.I. has opened a domestic terrorism investigation into the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting". New York Times.
  36. ^ Fry, Hannah (March 10, 2020). "Officers' actions 'undoubtedly saved lives' during Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, D.A. says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 12, 2020.
  37. ^ Fabian, Jordan (July 29, 2019). "Trump on Gilroy shooting: We must 'stop evil'". The Hill. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  38. ^ "Trump, Local Politicians React to Shooting at Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif". NBC Bay Area. NBC Universal Media. July 28, 2019. Retrieved July 28, 2019.
  39. ^ Winton, Richard; Luna, Taryn; McGreevy, Patrick; Nelson, Laura (July 30, 2019). "Gilroy festival shooter obtained 'weapons of goddamned mass destruction,' Newsom says". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  40. ^ "U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski and his wife were at California festival when gunman opened fire and killed 3 people". Chicago Tribune. July 29, 2019.
  41. ^ "Lawmakers respond to mass shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival". KSBW. July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  42. ^ Sweeney, Don (July 29, 2019). "'Nothing short of horrific.' Grief overflows online after Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  43. ^ Stanton, Sam (July 29, 2019). "Shooter should 'rot in hell': Gun store owner speaks out over selling weapon to Gilroy gunman". The Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 30, 2019.
  44. ^ "Pope condemns spate of U.S. gun violence, prays for victims". Reuters. August 4, 2019. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  45. ^ Padilla, Mariel (September 4, 2019). "San Francisco Declares the N.R.A. a 'Domestic Terrorist Organization'". The New York Times. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  46. ^ Salonga, Robert (January 28, 2020). "'Resilience Center' opens to heal continuing trauma from Gilroy garlic festival shooting". Mercury News.