Santino William Legan has been identified as the suspect who opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California in an attack that left at least three dead and more than a dozen others injured.
Police in California responded to reports of gunfire at the Northern California event, which is one of the largest food festivals in the United States. Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said that the shooting took place on the north side of the festival, with officers in the area engaging and killing the suspect in less than a few minutes. NBC Bay Area reported that there may have been two suspects, with another still on the loose in the hours after the shooting. Police said they were not sure if the second suspect was involved in a shooting or was acting in a supporting role for the shooter.
Details about Legan are still scarce, but witness Julissa Contreras told NBC News that he appeared to be “your average white guy” firing an automatic weapon and “kind of just going left to right and shooting whoever he could, honestly.”
Smithee asked witnesses who may have seen the shooting to reach out, sharing any information as well as pictures or video of the suspect.
Police added that there was tight security for those entering the festival, including wand metal detectors to keep out weapons. Smithee said he believes that the suspect or suspects used some kind of tool to cut through a fence to enter the festival grounds.
The situation was still considered to be active more than three hours after the first gunshots rang out, with police telling members of the public to avoid the area where the shooting had taken place. Local news video showed police with flashlights searching for the gunman, focusing on an area near Gilroy High School with police helicopters overhead.
Witnesses said at least one of them was a white man wearing Army fatigues and holding a long rifle that fired in rapid succession. Some witnesses who saw the initial shooting said they believed that the shooter was a law enforcement officer because of his clothing.
SUSPECTED SHOOTER IDENTIFIED: Authorities have identified 19-year-old Santino William Legan as the suspected shooter at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, CBS News reports. https://t.co/k2BassK8rv pic.twitter.com/dZohUSuapK— 10News WTSP (@10NewsWTSP) July 29, 2019
As USA Today reported, the shooting led to a chaotic scene where thousands of people were sent scrambling from the sound of gunfire.
“There were tons of people crying, they had scratches from diving and being knocked over,” witness Roman Faria told USA Today. “It was intense to see because this is our town.”
Another witness, Miquita Price, told CNN that she was running from the shooter when a woman next to her was shot.
“It’s one of the scariest feelings. I think this is all like a nightmare. I don’t believe this is reality right now,” Price said.
Police did not release a potential motive for why Santino William Legan may have opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival.