- 29 Jul 19
A young child was killed in the tragedy along with two other victims and the suspected gunman who was shot dead by the police.
The Girloy Garlic Festival, headlined by country music star Colbie Caillat, tragically turned into a mass shooting horror yesterday.
It started off as a beautiful Sunday in a peaceful place where many people and families gathered to enjoy food stalls and dance to live gigs. The festival was near the end of its finale day when festivities tured into chaos.
Today is Day 3 of #garlicfest19! We're celebrating 15 years of partnering with @KRTY to introduce country music's newest stars at "Hot Country Sunday." #garlicfest19 is presented by St. Louise Regional Hospital. Festival hours on Sunday are 10am to 6pm. https://t.co/UuZWIInfEE pic.twitter.com/rh6V9bHkii
— Garlic Festival (@GilroyGarlicFes) July 28, 2019
Around 5 PM, someone described as a white man in his thirties walked in with an assault-type rifle and relentlessly opened fire on the packed crowd.
Six-years old victim Steven Romero was at the festival with this mother and grandmother when they got hit by the undiscerning bullets. His relatives survived with hand and leg gun wounds but Romero's life was lost. His father Alberto Romero said his son had been playing on a bouncy castle when the shooting happened.
Eleven people were transported to the hospital. Three had been treated and released late Sunday, and the rest were in fair to critical condition, said a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County Public Health System.
According to the authorities, the suspect was able to avoid security checks when he entered the festival by cutting through a fence.
Shocked witnesses explained that when they first heard gun shots, they assumed those were fireworks. Scenes of devastation followed as the huge crowd tried to escape the area.
Shortly after the news broke about the event, many worried family members, friends and partners of those who attended the festival gathered around its entrance to obtain information.
"It's sort of a nightmare you hope you never have to live in reality," Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said at a news conference, adding that the supsect appeared to be shooting "somewhat randomly". Investigators believe that another person was involved into the killings but the motive is not known to them yet.
Founded in 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival is one of the largest food festivals in the United-States, initiated to celebrate the local garlic industry. It usually is a joyful mixture of food and live entertainment, taking place under the scorching Northern Californian sun.
This violence is not normal. How many more families will have to lose a loved one before we fix our broken gun laws? We must take action, starting with real reform.
Our thoughts are with everyone in Gilroy this evening. Enough is enough. https://t.co/wHqY9RE8Nu
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) July 29, 2019
A number of Democratic politicians were quick to react to the horrific event, such as Vice-President and Senator Joe Biden in the above tweet. California senator Kamala Harris said the shooting was “simply horrific”. “Our country has a gun violence epidemic that we cannot tolerate,” she added.
Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday night that people in the area should “be careful and safe!.” While he posted numerous tweets since, including a few aiming at civil rights activist Al Sharpton as well as Elijah Cummings, he is yet to issue further comment.