Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting: Arrest in hoax made as police search suspect's car, home

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Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Gunman kills 2 kids, 1 other in Gilroy Garlic Festival attack
At least four people, including a suspect, are dead and 15 people wereaAuthorities on Monday were searching for answers to why a 19-year-old opened fire on a popular food festival less than a mile from his parents' home in California, killing two children and another man, but believe many more people would have died if officers patrolling the event had not stopped the gunman so quickly. injured after a shooting at the Garlic Festival Sunday evening in Gilroy, police say.

GILROY, Calif. -- Police say a young man armed with an AK-47-style rifle cut through a fence and opened fire on a crowd eating and listening to music at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California. Though officers responded in less than a minute, three people died in the attack.

The victims were identified as 6-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and recent college graduate Trevor Irby.

RELATED: What we know about the 3 killed in the Garlic Festival shooting

Irby, a biology major, graduated from Keuka College in upstate New York in 2017. In a statement, President Amy Storey said alumna Sarah Warner was with him at the festival and was not physically injured.

Police have identified the gunman as 19-year-old Santino William Legan. They say he appears to have posted two photos on Instagram that day, including one minutes before he opened fire.

Legan's since-deleted Instagram account says he is Italian and Iranian. It also shows a photo he posted earlier depicting Smokey the Bear in front of a "fire danger" sign. In the caption, Legan said to read "Might is Right," a book published in the 1800s.

RELATED: Santino William Legan: What we know about Gilroy Garlic Festival suspect

The misogynist and anti-Semitic work is used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists on extremist sites.

Minutes before the shooting, he posted a photo from the festival: "Ayyy garlic festival time" and "come get wasted on overpriced (stuff)."


A look at how the shooting at the Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, unfolded.

According to Police Chief Scot Smithee, Legan got inside the event through the creek and used an unknown tool to cut into the fence.

According to Smithee, the shooting took place on north side of the festival and the closest team of officers responded immediately when calls came in around 5:40 p.m. about shots fired. They were there and engaged with the suspect, who was armed with an assault-type rifle, in less than a minute.

RELATED: Heartbroken grandmother in New York remembers Trevor Irby who died in attack at garlic festival

"As soon as he saw the officers he engaged the officers and fired at the officers with that rifle," he said.

Smithee added, "Despite the fact that they were outgunned with their handguns against a rifle, those three officers were able to fatally wound that suspect and the event ended very quickly."

RELATED: 'I feel like he made eye contact with me': Witness describes Gilroy shooting

Smithee says there is no confirmation of a 2nd suspect involved in the shooting, despite witnesses claiming they saw one.

Police said that a twitter post that was circulating of a man claiming to have shot up the garlic festival is now a hoax. Police have tracked down the owner of that account and have taken him into custody. They've concluded that he was not part of the shooting.

Police say the gun Legan used was an AK-47 style assault rifle that he purchased legally in Nevada on July 9.

PHOTOS: Aftermath of shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival

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Police officers escort people from Christmas Hill Park following a deadly shooting during the Gilroy Garlic Festival, in Gilroy, Calif.

ATF and police are searching a home belonging to Legan's father in Churchill Place in Gilroy. The home is about a mile away from Christmas Hill Park, where the shooting took place. Just a few blocks from walking path access along the Uvas Creek.

ABC7 Community Journalist Dustin Dorsey drove from the home on Churchill Place to the nearest walking path along Luchessa Way.

ABC7 Community Journalist Dustin Dorsey drove from the home on Churchill Place to the nearest walking path along Luchessa Way to see how long it takes to access Christmas Hill Park.

It took less than two minutes to get to a walkway that leads directly to Christmas Hill Park.

The main path along the north side of the park is lined with several neighborhoods and is backed up to many houses as well.

Our reporter then followed a different walking path along the De Anza Place and the south side of the park that led directly to a back entrance to the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

The entrance opened up to the kid's zone area of the festival where you could see the remains of what was a chaotic scene with festival-goers frantically leaving the park.

It was clear to see that the area had been abandoned as people left trash cans and other items knocked over.

Law enforcement was standing near the back gate to make sure no one came onto the festival grounds during the investigation.

Police also said Monday that a warrant was issued to search the suspect's car. Gilroy Police Department was joined by the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and the bomb squad.

From Sky 7 you could see a robot alongside the vehicle with investigators meticulously making sure there wasn't a bomb or explosives inside.

Smithee says the motive remains unknown. Police are still investigating whether there is a second suspect.

RELATED: Band describes gunshots that rang out while they were on stage at Gilroy Garlic Festival

Gilroy police are asking any witnesses who have not contacted them yet to call 408-846-0583. They advise anyone looking to reunite with a loved one to call 408-846-0584.

The FBI has also set up a tip site for anyone who has photos, video or info they can share to help with the investigation.

The ATF reported on Sunday in a tweet that the agency's San Francisco Field Division is responding to the shooting.

Gov. Gavin Newsom also sent a statement on Twitter, saying the shooting was "nothing short of horrific."

President Donald Trump condemned the "wicked murderer" who opened fire at the festival.

Trump spoke Monday before an event at the White House to sign a bill ensuring that a victims' compensation fund related to the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money.

The president said that the nation would "grieve" for the victim

Senator Kamala Harris said on Sunday her office is monitoring the situation, "Grateful to first responders who are on the scene in Gilroy and keeping those injured by such senseless violence in my thoughts. My office is closely monitoring the situation."

Video on social media sites showed people running for safety at the festival.

Video posted to Twitter shows crowds fleeing after shots are fired at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

The shooting occurred during the annual three-day celebration featuring food, cooking competitions and music that attracts more than 100,000 people.

City officials tell ABC7 News the community has organized a vigil to honor the people killed and injured as a result of the shooting. The vigil will take place at 6pm on the plaza outside of the Gilroy Police Department. The vigil is open to the public.

Get the latest on the deadly Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting here.

ABC News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.