Santino Legan, 19, has been identified as the gunman who opened fire on crowds at Sunday’s festival
The Gilroy Garlic Festival shooter complained about mixed race people, Silicon Valley and promoted a controversial anarchist book that is beloved by white supremacists in three Instagram posts just moments before he opened fire on Sunday.
Santino Legan, 19, has been identified as the gunman who opened fire on crowds at Sunday’s festival, killing three people including a six-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.
Legan was shot dead at the scene.
He used a legally purchased AK-47 to carry out the shooting which he bought in Nevada on July 9.
Before the shooting, the teenager, who called himself Iranian-Italian on social media, posted on Instagram on a now-deleted account from the festival.
One said: ‘Ayyy garlic festival time. Come get wasted on overpriced s**t.’ It showed a photograph from the festival.
Another referenced the book Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard, aka Arthur Desmond, an alt-right politician whose views are beloved by white supremacists and are widely considered antisemitic. The book is so inflammatory it was banned for years.
‘Read Might Is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white t****?’ one of the posts read. Mestizos is a racist slur towards mixed race people.
Authorities have not yet confirmed his motive and are unsure if he had an accomplice.
Police continue to search his family’s home which is on a quiet street less than two miles from where the festival took place.
Neighbors told DailyMail.com they were stunned by Legan’s murderous rampage.
‘We are in utter disbelief. The police got here about 11pm last night. I don’t know if they broke down the door, I heard they went in guns blazing. I didn’t hear it I was told that by another neighbor,’ one told DailyMail.com.
His mother, Ardis, was removed from the house but was allowed back in later.
Elia Scettrini, 65, who lives two doors down, said: ‘I was shocked. They are quiet, friendly, good neighbors. If you go and ask them for something they will lend it to you. ‘It’s a quiet neighborhood so it’s very sad to hear this.’
Elia said two of the couple’s children are in college and Santino graduated from high school two years ago. She said: ‘We knew their kids, very nice kids, the parents, the father especially always doing things for his sons.
The teenager shared a photograph from the festival before he opened fire mocking the ‘overpriced s**t’ being sold
A gunman who opened fire on the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California Sunday evening was shot dead by police. Witness video appears to show officers surrounding the suspect after they took him town within seconds of when he started shooting
Thomas Legan, the suspect’s father, is shown leaving their home on Monday after his son was identified as the suspect
Police searched this home on Monday which is thought to be where some of Legan’s relatives live. It is near the festival
Armed police are shown leaving the gunman’s home on Monday with items of evidence. They are still working to determine his motive
‘They all got along peacefully, you never saw a police car around here. ‘I heard the dad stopped working for a while to train his son in boxing, but I don’t know. I think that was the eldest son.
‘He would spend a lot of time in his garage with all his kids playing sports, soccer and everything. ‘They’d all get together, they had a little gym.’
Asked what she knew about Santino, she said: ‘He was quiet, I would say “hi how are you?” He would say “fine”. He was a teenager, 19, normal teenager, quiet, kept to himself.
‘He went to Gilroy High School. I was a teacher there, usually teachers know the troublemakers, I never heard anything bad about him.
‘I saw him just last week I think, he was outside with a car, you know teenagers looking at their cars, cleaning their cars.
‘I can’t imagine him doing this, that’s the shocking thing.
‘My son in law text me said not to come home because there was policemen here, at about 11pm.’
Elia’s husband Larry, 69, a retired county mental health worker, said: ‘They are our neighbors, we speak often. I know Tom (the dad) is a physical fitness trainer also.
‘He’s into physical fitness a lot. Guns or violence never came up most of our discussions were about neighborhood issues. I had no idea if they had any guns.
The shooting happened at the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday at around 6pm local time. The house searched nearby is less than two miles away
Police are seen standing over a person believed to be the suspect shot dead in the confrontation
‘I thought they had two sons. Last discussion I had with Ardis was they were by themselves because both kids had moved out, she said that maybe two months ago. That’s what I understood.
‘She has a job I think in Monterey in business administration. I saw Tom this weekend riding his bike on Saturday. I haven’t seen the teenager in quite a while, I used to see him going for a jog or bike ride, it’s been maybe six months since I saw him.
‘He would say occasional hello for a distance.
‘Tom is very friendly, sense of humor, positive concerned person. It’s terrible having this close to home.’
Six-year-old Steven Romero, from San Jose, was among three killed when a gunman opened fire on the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California on Sunday evening
‘It seems that this was a random act but we’ve got a long way to go before we can confirm what his motivation was,’ Chief Scott Smithee said.
Officers from the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Bureau were seen searching a home in Gilroy overnight.
Legan was shot dead by police a minute after the shooting was reported.
On Monday, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee choked back tears as he commended his officers for acting so quickly.
They were being shot at by the suspect when they returned fire with their handguns and took him down.
‘There absolutely would have been more bloodshed,’ Smithee said, had his officers not sprung into action.
He confirmed Legan’s identity but said he was reluctant to give him notoriety.
‘I say that name with some hesitation because I don’t believe that somebody like this deserves the notoriety and the recognition,’ he said after confirming his name.
President Trump called him a ‘wicked murderer’ on Monday during a bill signing ceremony at the White House.
Survivors said Legan told them he was ‘really angry’ when they asked him why he wanted to kill them.
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.
Other survivors 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.
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.
Legan 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.
He was walking like a police officer. Like he wanted to get stuff done
Festival worker who witnessed the shooting
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.
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.
‘HE HAD HIS WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF HIM’
Alberto Romero, the boy’s father, speaking on Sunday
The grieving family of the six-year-old boy shot dead at the Gilroy Garlic festival on Sunday have told how he was a ‘happy’ child with his ‘whole life’ ahead of him.
Stephen Romero attended the festival with his mother and grandmother when he was shot dead. His father, Alberto, told on Sunday of the moment his wife phoned him to tell him what had happened.
‘I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, that maybe I was dreaming,’ he told Mercury News.
The boy was taken to the hospital where his father met him.
He hoped he would recover but doctors quickly revealed how grave the boy’s condition was.
‘They said they were working on him and five minutes later they told me he was dead,’ his father said.
He said his son was a happy child.
‘He was joyful, always wanted to play, always positive,’ he added.
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’.
A victim is seen with bloody wounds on both of his legs in a video posted to Twitter
Police have yet to confirm the number of victims shot or otherwise injured in the mayhem
Heavily-armed officers are pictured at the scene as a suspect is believed to still be at large near Christmas Hill Park
Multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and ATF, responded to the scene (pictured)
Armed officers escort people from Christmas Hill Park following the shooting. Police say the scene is still active because one suspect remains at large
Officers have told people not to come to the festival site, describing it as an ‘active scene’ where there is still a heavy police presence which will continue overnight Sunday
Attendees are escorted out of the festival under armed police guard after the shooting
Police officers arrive on the scene of the investigation following a deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival
An emergency responder stands watch at Gilroy High School following a deadly shooting during the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Police vehicles arrive on the scene of the investigation following a deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Cheryl Low and Candice Marquez who run The Honey Ladies, a tent at the festival, said the gunman said nothing and shot indiscriminately into the crowds. They fled and survived
President Donald Trump tweeted about the shooting
‘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.
California Governor Gavin Newsom also tweeted about the horror situation in his state
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!’
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, a headliner at the festival, also tweeted
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.’
Teresa Giudice, who was also an attendee at the festival yesterday, tweeted her support and thoughts to victims
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.’
Emergency personnel stand outside Gilroy High School following the deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Armed officers are seen above responding to the scene. 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
Gilroy Garlic festival volunteer Denise Buessing, left, embraces fellow volunteer Marsha Struzik at a reunification center
Gavilan College, located 3.2 miles from the park, was set up as a reunification site for festival attendees who were reportedly transported there by bus and in civilian vehicles.
The public was urged to stay away from the festival area and from Gavilan College if they were not immediately affected by the incident.
The three-day event is officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Garlic Festival, attracting thousands of visitors each summer.
The festival is considered a ‘gun free zone’, and attendees say they were searched thoroughly before entering the park. Money raised during the event is donated to charity.
This year’s 41st annual festival featured a giant outdoor kitchen and ‘Pyro Chefs’ creating flame shows while cooking garlic calamari and scampi alongside booths serving pasta, pepper steak sandwiches at ‘Gourmet Alley’, the main food area.
There were also three stages with live entertainment, a wine garden, a cocktail booth and a children’s play area.
Singer Colbie Caillat and her band Gone West headlined the festival on Saturday.
Another highlight was a Garli-Que BBQ Challenge and the Great Garlic Cook-Off hosted by Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio.
Another witness said the shooting took place between food tents and from a child’s play area
People look on from near the scene of a mass shooting during the Gilroy Garlic Festival
The three-day event is officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Garlic Festival, attracting thousands of visitors each summer
One witness told NBC Bay Area he was headed out of the event when he felt a bullet whiz by his head and saw everyone running behind him