Filipino witnesses describe horrific experience after Gilroy Garlic Festival mass shooting

Devastating, senseless tragedy out of Gilroy — a city about an hour away from our ABS-CBN studio here in Northern California.

As thousands of people flocked to the world-famous Gilroy Garlic Festival, a gunman opened fire Sunday night, killing three people — including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year old girl — and injuring 15. Hundreds were running for their lives.

This was the horrific scene at the Gilroy Garlic festival, around 5:30 pm on Sunday, after 19-year old Santino William Legan reportedly opened fire with a rifle he legally purchased three weeks ago in Nevada.

“We found out that the rifle that this suspect used was an S.K. And there’s a AK-47 type assault rifle,” said Chief Scot Smithee.

Gilroy authorities, who held a press conference this morning, said they have not found a motive for the shooting.

Officers said they began shooting at began in less than a minute. He was killed in the shootout.

Those killed were 6-year old Steven Romero, a 13-year old girl named Keyla Salazar and a man in his 20s named Trevor Irby.

“We certainly are investigating all leads to try to determine who that potential second suspect is, and what exactly that person’s role was.”

The city of Gilroy continues to process this horrific ordeal — as more details of the Gilroy Garlic Festival unfolds.

Gilroy is home to many communities — including Filipinos.

According to Gilroy Area-Connect — Filipinos make up 1.62 percent of Gilroy’s total population.

Some of our kababayans who were at the festival shared their experiences on-line.

One person wrote how they were 25 meters from the shooter and saw a man injured by one of the bullets.

Another wrote how she saw people running and screaming that there was a shooter — and how she quickly boarded a bus with others for safety.

A Filipino man and his sons were two booths away from the shooter when they actively took cover when the shooting broke out.

Since 1979, the Gilroy Garlic Festival has been a family-friendly event that attracts ten of thousands of people every year.

And now this small community continues to find strength in the wake of this tragedy.

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