Filipina recounts horrific ordeal during the Gilroy festival mass shooting

SANTA CLARA, CALIF. — Charmaine Lugartos thought the Gilroy Garlic Festival was the perfect idea to spend a Sunday with her visiting family members from the Philippines.

She says they were enjoying themselves, until a mass shooting happened.

Lugartos says that they were waiting for the shuttle to take them out of the fairgrounds to the parking lot, when they saw the chaotic scene of people running for safety.

“We just heard gunshots and just saw people running. And we were like, what’s going on here? And then I saw this girl run past me. And she had like a fear look in her visit was like there’s something going on. And then one of the person from the runners and there’s a shooter. So we just started running to the bus.”

Even though it has been almost 48 hours since the latest mass shooting that took the lives of four people, including the shooter — Lugartos says she is still shaken by the experience.

“I’m still in shock. I was there to see it. I’ve been to so many festivals, and I always go there every year and never had that happen to me. It’s just scary.”

According to, a citizen organization tracking gun violence, there have now been 248 mass shootings in 2019 alone, leading to 8,492 deaths.

Lugartos has been living in the U.S. since she was 13-years-old and with the recent mass shootings happening across the country — she says more needs to be done to prevent future deaths.

“They should like look at the constitution and just try to revise it. Maybe make purchasing gun more stricter than just buying guns?”

Despite regularly attending the Gilroy garlic festival for years, Lugartos says she does not see herself returning next year.

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