Violent Crime West Coast

Gilroy Garlic Festival Mass Shooting Many Killed and Wounded

Victim Stephen Romero
Gilroy Garlic Festival Mass Shooting Many Killed and Wounded

Gilroy Garlic Festival Mass Shooting Many Killed and Wounded

A six-year-old boy is among three dead after a mass shooting at a California garlic festival where an unidentified gunman opened fire with an assault rifle, telling the crowd he was ‘really angry’ as he reloaded his weapon before being shot dead by police.

Stephen Romero was killed when a man described by witnesses as white, aged between 20 and 35 and wearing military fatigues, opened fire on the final day of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, around 30 miles south of San Jose, with a semi-automatic assault rifle around 6 pm local time Sunday.

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The gunman, who is yet to be identified, was shot dead by police.

Authorities believe he gained access to the festival, which was protected with metal detectors, by using bolt cutters to get through a fence.

They believe he had an accomplice and police are still looking for that person.

According to witnesses, when asked why he wanted to was shooting, the gunman answered ‘because I’m really angry’.

Others have told how he was silent as he marched through the crowds.

‘He didn’t say anything, nothing. He did not even look from side to side. He just kept looking forward,’ Cheryl Low, who was working at the festival, told ABC.

Gilroy is the garlic capital of the world and 100,000 people visit the town for it every year.

Stephen is the only one of the three people killed to be named.

He was there with his grandmother and mother who were both injured.

Another 13 people, including a 12-year-old girl, were also hurt.

The two suspects are believed to have entered the festival via a creek on the north side, where they used a tool to cut through a fence in order to avoid strict security at official entrances.

He then fired his semi-automatic, stopping to reload at one point, and did not flinch as his bullets his children. Some witnesses say he moved ‘like a police officer’ because he was so efficient.

‘He shot one child and then he put the clip in and he just started moving back and forth walking toward the tents because that’s where most of the people were in that area and he started shooting,’ Cheryl Low, who was working at the festival, said.

‘We were 10 to 15ft away from him. It was… how do I explain. There was like a pop and all of a sudden we just turned and we saw him standing there.

‘He was reloading his gun, he was putting another magazine in and he just opened fire. He just started walking towards our booth.

‘We just ran. It was so fast,’ she said.

Several witnesses reported hearing popping noises and then seeing a white male in his 30s wearing military fatigues ‘indiscriminately’ spraying the crowd with bullets from a semi-automatic weapon for several minutes.

Candice Marquez, 51, a honey vendor at the festival, said she was just 10 feet from the shooter when he opened fire, and saw him reload a clip of ammunition.

She told Fox News that he was a white man, aged between 20 and 35, and that he seemed very calm and didn’t say anything during his attack.

Candice said he was wearing a green vest and khaki pants, was ‘very quiet’ and didn’t call attention to himself before he started spraying the crowd with bullets.

She described the shooter’s actions as ‘very deliberate’ but said he didn’t seem to be targeting anyone. Two of her colleagues were shot in the attack, she added.

He was walking like a police officer. Like he wanted to get stuff done
Festival worker who witnessed the shooting
Another festival worker told NBC Bay Area: ‘He was walking like a police officer. Like he wanted to get stuff done.’

The shooting is the 246th mass shooting in the US this year.

Multiple videos posted on social media show panicked attendees fleeing the park as gunshots ring out in the background.

‘What’s going on?’ a woman can be heard asking in a clip. ‘Who’d shoot up a garlic festival?’

One video shows two bloodied victims lying on the ground, while another showed victims being treated inside a trailer.

On Sunday, Stephen’s grieving father Alberto shared photographs of him on social media on Sunday night and also gave interviews where he said he had his ‘whole life ahead of him’.

‘I want to be with him until I can put him in his resting spot, wherever that is. My son had his whole life to live, he was only six, that’s all I can say,’ he said.

Stephen’s other grandmother, who was not at the festival, told KRON: ‘This is really hard. There are no words to describe [it].

‘Because he was such a happy kid, you know. I don’t think it’s fair.’

One witness told NBC Bay Area he was headed out of the event when he felt a bullet wiz by his head and saw everyone running behind him.

A woman told the outlet she heard popping noises and then turned around to see a man who appeared to be reloading a semi-automatic weapon.

Another witness said the shooting took place between food tents and from a child’s play area.

‘We were just leaving and we saw a guy with a bandana wrapped around his leg because he got shot,’ Evenny Reyes, 13, told the San Jose Mercury News.

‘There was a little kid hurt on the ground.

‘People were throwing tables and cutting fences to get out.’

A spokeswoman for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center said at least five gunshot victims have been taken to the hospital. Their conditions were unknown.

A spokeswoman for Stanford Medical Center said two patients were being treated there as well.

At the press conference, Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco said ‘the situation is still fluid, active’.

‘I want to express my extreme shock and sadness over what has happened today. I would ask for the thoughts and prayers of the community. We plan on being out here all night,’ Velasco said.

Police Chief Smithee said: ‘It’s just incredibly sad and disheartening that at an event that does so much good the community had to suffer from a tragedy like this.’

‘The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today’s shooting at the Garlic Festival. The scene is still active. If you are looking for a loved one, please go to the reunification center at Gavilan College at parking lot B,’ the Gilroy Police Department wrote on Twitter.

President Donald Trump tweeted: ‘Law Enforcement is at the scene of shootings in Gilroy, California. Reports are that shooter has not yet been apprehended. Be careful and safe!’

California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted: ‘This is nothing short of horrific. Tonight, CA stands with the Gilroy community.

‘My office is monitoring the situation closely. Grateful for the law enforcement’s efforts and their continued work as this situation develops.’

Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, a headliner at the festival, also tweeted: ‘I was in Gilroy at the Garlic Festival yesterday. Really great community. Prayers go out to all’.

Real Housewives of New Jersey star Teresa Giudice. who was also an attendee at the festival on Saturday, tweeted: ‘I am so sad hearing about the shooting tonight at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, I was there yesterday and just got back to New Jersey.

‘I am praying for everyone there.’


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