Gilroy, CA Garlic Festival Shooting Leaves 3 Dead, Official Says

Police have responded to an “active shooter” situation after at least one gunman opened fire on attendees at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

By Daniel Hampton, Patch Staff
Jul 28, 2019 9:25 pm ET | Updated Jul 29, 2019 1:04 am ET

At least one gunman at the Gilroy Garlic Festival killed at least three people and wounded at least 13.
At least one gunman at the Gilroy Garlic Festival killed at least three people and wounded at least 13. (Shutterstock)

GILROY, CA — At least one person with a gun killed at least three people and wounded at least 13 others at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday evening. The shooting started around 5:30 p.m. at Christmas Hill Park where the festival takes place.

A shooter was described as a white male in his 20s or 30s and witness said he appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest, the official said.

Gilroy police tweeted Sunday evening that the “hearts” of the police department and the entire community go out to the victims at the shooting. The scene is still active, police said, and anyone looking for loved ones was asked to go to the reunification center at Gavilan College in parking lot B. The tweet was accompanied by the hashtag “#GilroyActiveshooter.”

A Gilroy police dispatcher would only tell Patch on Sunday they were “extremely busy.”

St. Louise Hospital in Gilroy and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center confirmed receiving 11 patients between them. Their conditions ranged from fair to critical.

A witness line and family reunification line has been established at 408-846-0583.

Law enforcement sources told KTVU-TV one shooter is dead and a second was “outstanding.”

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms were assisting the Gilroy Police Department in the investigation.

Video posted on social media showed people running away from the festival as at least one gunshot rings out. In a second video, a half-dozen shots can be heard as people scream and run.Witness Julissa Contreras told NBC Bay Area a rifle-toting white man in his 30s fired three to four shots a second.

“It was just rapid firing,” she said. “I could see him shooting in just every direction. He wasn’t aiming at anyone specifically. It was just left to right, right to left. …

“He definitely was prepared for what he was doing,” she said.

“Who would shoot up a garlic festival,” one person is heard saying in one of the videos.

A witness told KTVU-TV the gunman, dressed in fatigues, appeared to be “randomly shooting,” and that he heard 30-40 shots.

Santa Clara County Medical Center told NBC News it was treating two patients and expecting at least three more.

The three-day festival has been running since 1979, according to the event’s website. It features “garlicky food, live entertainment, and family fun.” The event was to run until 6 p.m. Sunday.

David Leonard tweeted he was driving on U.S. Route 101 when he saw about 30 emergency responders heading south with lights activated, including sheriff’s deputies, highway patrol troopers and unmarked cars.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris tweeted that her office was closely following the situation and described the shooting as “simply horrific.”

“Grateful to first responders who are on the scene in Gilroy and keeping those injured by such senseless violence in my thoughts,” she wrote.

Harris added the nation has a gun violence epidemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted the mass shooting was “nothing short of horrific.”

“Tonight, CA stands with the Gilroy community,” he wrote. “My office is monitoring the situation closely. Grateful for the law enforcement’s efforts and their continued work as this situation develops.”

President Donald Trump tweeted that law enforcement agencies were at the scene of shootings in Gilroy and that reports were a shooter wasn’t yet apprehended.

“Be careful and safe,” he wrote.

Patch staffers Sue Wood and Colin Miner contributed reporting.

Warning: Graphic videos below.

yo somebody was shooting at the gilroy garlic festival. be safe
— niah (@wavyia) July 29, 2019

@AgendaFreeTV here is another video of gunshots at the Gilroy garlic festival
— BIG SEAZ (@NstySeaL) July 29, 2019

Witness line and family reunification line: 408-846-0583. If you saw something today please call that number immediately. Please keep the main GPD line for emergencies only. Media please do not call that line. A media line will be posted soon.
— Gilroy Police (@GilroyPD) July 29, 2019
— CRM (@objectsbycrm) July 29, 2019

BREAKING: witnesses report a shooter standing on or near a stage shooting into the crowd at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Stay safe!
— Michael Napa, PhD Official (@RealMikeNapa) July 29, 2019

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