California’s annual garlic festival in beautiful Gilroy was halted Sunday by a gunman shooting into a crowd killing three, including a 6-year old boy. There were 15-18 injured, with hundreds of terrified visitors running for cover Sunday evening.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival is an annual tradition, known for for delicious garlicky food, live bands, cooking competitions, and even garlic ice cream.
“Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said the gunman was armed with a rifle and sneaked in through a fence that borders a parking lot next to a creek,” Associated Press reported. “He appeared to randomly target people when he opened fire just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the conclusion of the three-day festival that attracts more than 100,000 people to the city known as the ‘Garlic Capital of the World.’”
Gilroy police responded within a minute and killed the suspect, Smithee said. The gunman has been identified as Santino William Legan, 19. “There was no early word on a possible motive. Witnesses told CBS News the gunman appeared to be firing at random. Some witnesses said he suddenly appeared from behind a stage before beginning to shoot,” CBS reported.
“Founded in 1979, this event is hosted by thousands of community volunteers who have raised millions of dollars for local schools, charities, and non-profit organizations,” the festival website says. The festival attracts tens of thousands of people every year to the town of Gilroy, which is home to 58,000 residents. When driving through the Gilroy area on State Highway 152, the fresh smell of garlic is pronounced.