Gilroy Shooting: Residents show support as FBI looks into motive

ByKris Reyes KTRK logo
Thursday, August 1, 2019
Gilroy Garlic Festival killer's motive still a mystery
The 19-year-old gunman who opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival was "kind of a loner" and much of his life was shrouded in mystery, the FBI said as investigators searched for a motive.

GILROY, Calif. -- The 19-year-old gunman who opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival was "kind of a loner" and much of his life was shrouded in mystery, an FBI official said as investigators searched for a motive.

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Police believe Santino William Legan fired randomly Sunday, killing three people, after cutting through a fence to get into the annual Northern California food festival. Officers patrolling the popular event responded within a minute and killed him.

Legan attended high school in Gilroy in his senior year and was recently living in Nevada, where he purchased two guns - the AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle he used in the attack and a shotgun that was found in his car near the festival, authorities said.

A bag of ammunition was found along a creek near the fence, police revealed Tuesday.

TIMELINE: Timeline of events as Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting unfolded

"We understand him to be kind of a loner," said Craig Fair, deputy special agent in charge of the FBI's San Francisco Division. "People who act alone are exceptionally dangerous because they ... may not communicate their plans, intentions, mindset - they may not impart that on other people."

There's been a lot of speculation out there about the suspect's motive. On Tuesday, the FBI said they still have not determined any links to ideology. However, there are reports circulating of the shooter having books that have been linked to white nationalist groups.

As the investigation continues, the FBI asked for patience and held an impromptu briefing to set the record straight.

"The information that's out there, it's being reported that there's white nationalism or any type of those ideologies," Special Agent John Bennett. "That has not been determined and I wanted to knock that down.

Authorities have now searched a vehicle and two residences connected to the 19-year-old shooter. The FBI confirmed that some literature and writings have been found and that agency profilers have been dispatched to Gilroy to make sense of the evidence.

"Right now the search warrants and the information we're collecting is conflicting, literature that we're finding on there from left to right and so there is no ideology that we can put this person in a box in," Bennett said.

Christmas Hill Park, the site of the Garlic Festival shooting, is still blocked off with police combing through acres of land.

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

Still, that has not stopped people from dropping by the site, some to leave flowers and teddy bears. One group dropping off cookies had a simple message: "Thank you for keeping us safe."

When asked why he felt the need to bring his family there, Gilroy resident Lee Guerrero said, "Just to kinda show our support. Not just to the local law enforcement but to everybody."

Some vendors have also been allowed to return to pick up their vehicles as police shrink the crime scene, day-by-day.

Dee Dee McDonald and Kristen Soseman had a booth selling spiritual art and crystals. The shooting happened right in front of them. They've returned, despite knowing they can't pick up their belongings yet.

"They're just things at this point, it's not what's important, we're here," Soseman said.

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McDonald added, "I think the first couple days you're in shock and then yesterday it really kinda hit me. But no room for anger because that's what got us here."

Still, some vendors say the events from Sunday have them scared to live their normal lives.

Hannah Johnson survived the shooting by clutching her 11-month-old while hiding in a trailer behind her Beech Nut baby food booth.

Some vendors say the events from Sunday have them scared to live their normal lives.

Beech Nut was supposed to participate in the Santa Clara County Fair.

But after the shooting at the Garlic Festival, they are passing on the fair.

"A lot of people that I have talked to, families and moms, say that they are just really hesitant to be out in public and to not know what or who may be out there," Johnson said. "They know in their minds that it's safe, but it's just like we though the Garlic Festival was going to be safe."

Anyone needing to pick up their vehicle should meet at Antonio Del Buono Elementary School. There are only two lots where cars will be released from today. The first is the Volunteer Lot on West 10th Street, the second lot is the Parkside Lot south of Miller Avenue. Investigators want to make it clear access will not be granted to other parking lots or to the park itself, and that only vehicles will be released. To get your car back you'll need a valid driver's license, proof of registration and insurance prior to the release of the vehicle.

There will be two community meetings in Gilroy at 6 p.m. One at Community Solutions and the other at Rebekah Children's Services. The goal is to provide emotional support and community connections for people impacted by the garlic festival shooting in any way.

Get the latest stories, photos and videos on the deadly Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.