On Sunday, at least four people were killed, including a suspect, and 15 others were wounded during a shooting incident at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California. The festival is one of the largest food festivals in the United States and had more than 80,000 attendees at their 2018 outing.
According to a report from NBC News, the suspect responsible was “wearing tactical gear and armed with an assault rifle.” He was killed at the scene during a brief shootout with law enforcement officials.
Early on Monday morning, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee confirmed the number of deaths during a news conference where he described the situation as a “sort of a nightmare you hope you never have to live in reality.”
And, from the report:
Smithee said the suspect, who was shot and killed by the police, appeared to be firing “somewhat randomly,” and that investigators had no information on a possible motive. He said that police believed a second person may have been involved but that they didn’t know in what way. At this time police are not identifying the suspect.
One of those killed was 6-year-old Steven Romero who was at the festival with this mother and grandmother, who were also injured in the shooting.
“My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6,” Stephen Romero’s father told NBC Bay Area via USA Today. “That’s all I can say.”
At least four people, including the suspect, have died, and at least 15 have been injured after the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday, says police chief https://t.co/WGMjpfyXpP pic.twitter.com/fPdHVJXk9h
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 29, 2019
The Gilroy Police Department confirmed the shooting in realtime over Twitter, saying: “Chief Smithee: Gun shots were heard around 5:41pm and officers engaged #GilroyActiveShooter in less than a minute. Witnesses stated there may be a 2nd shooter, investigation continues.”
Chief Smithee: Gun shots were heard around 5:41pm and officers engaged #GilroyActiveShooter in less than a minute. Witnesses stated there may be a 2nd shooter, investigation continues.
— Gilroy Police (@GilroyPD) July 29, 2019
They added, “We will pause social media updates as our investigation continues throughout the night with multiple agencies on scene assisting. A press briefing will be scheduled tomorrow.”
We will pause social media updates as our investigation continues throughout the night with multiple agencies on scene assisting. A press briefing will be scheduled tomorrow. #GilroyActiveShooter
— Gilroy Police (@GilroyPD) July 29, 2019
USA Today reports:
Witnesses indicated there may have been a second suspect involved, but police are still investigating and have no identifying information on him, Smithee said.
“We have teams working to try to track down and identify leads regarding the second suspect,” he said.
Here’s more, via NBC News:
Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco declared a proclamation of a local emergency early Monday morning, as the investigation into the shooting continues.
Gilroy City Council member Dion Bracco and a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation told NBC News that three people had been pronounced dead.
“I would ask for the thoughts and prayers of the community as our officers continue to investigate this tragic and senseless crime,” Mayor Roland Velasco said.
BREAKING: Gilroy Police say 4 people dead, including one suspect. Witnesses reporting there may be a second suspect. Chief says it appears the suspect came into the festival through a creek and used a tool to cut through the fence and gain access to the festival. @KTVU
— Alyana Gomez (@AlyanaGomezKTVU) July 29, 2019
One witness at the scene reportedly said the suspect “shot off more than 30 rounds.” She said, “It was just like nonstop — just like two, three, four shots a second.”
The witness also described the suspect to be wearing military or tactical clothing.
“He looked like, oh, he could work private security,” she said via NBC News. “But he had, like, straps and clips, and he was completely prepared for what he was doing. Absolutely.”
USA Today reports all festival attendees must pass through metal detectors prior to entry, but the suspect entered by cutting through a chainlink fence.
Law enforcement officials have not yet identified a motive.