4 killed, including suspected gunman, in Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting

Three people were confirmed dead and 15 more injured following a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Christmas Hill Park, according to police.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported a six-year-old boy is among the dead. Officials have not yet confirmed the names of the deceased.

Shots ran out at the popular food festival, which was just wrapping up its final day, at 5:41 p.m. Sunday. Within one minute, police were on the scene.

A suspect was then shot and killed, Gilroy Chief of Police Scot Smithee said at a press conference late Sunday night. The area around Christmas Hill Park is still being searched by law enforcement as “witnesses indicated there may have been a second suspect.” Smithee said it’s not known if the second suspect is armed.

“It appears as though [the now-deceased suspect] came into the festival via the creek which borders the parking area. They used some kind of tool to cut through the secure fence-line,” Smithee said.

NBC Bay Area spoke to Gilroy Councilwoman Cat Tucker, who confirmed security checked bags and wanded adults entering the festival. Tucker said it was the first year such measures were taken, in part because of other shootings around the country.

“It appears that we have done as much security as anybody normally would,” she said.

Joy Alexiou, a spokesperson with the Santa Clara Valley Health System, said 11 people with gunshot wounds are being treated at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy. Alexiou said that additional victims who had non-shooting-related injuries were transported to Stanford Medical Center.

“It’s a nightmare you hope you never have to live in reality,” said Smithee.

The San Francisco Chronicle spoke with Michael Paz, 72, who was selling hats at the festival. Paz told the Chronicle that he was about 80 feet away from the shooter. He described him as being in his 30s and carrying an assault rifle.

“It was quite shocking and I’m fortunate to be alive,” Paz said.

The Gilroy Police Department posted on Twitter that they are opening a reunification center for people at Gavilan College at parking lot B. They are asking people who have information about the shooting or are looking for reunification information call 408-846-0583.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom posted a statement to Twitter about the shooting on Sunday night. “This is nothing short of horrific. Tonight, CA stands with the Gilroy community,” Newsom wrote on Twitter. “My office is monitoring the situation closely. Grateful for the law enforcement’s efforts and their continued work as this situation develops.”

President Donald Trump got word of the shooting and tweeted on Sunday night telling people to “be careful and safe!”

A video of people fleeing after hearing gunshots went viral as news of the shooting spread. In the video, people are seen running in increasing numbers with someone asking “what’s going on?” before what sounded like a shot is heard in the distance and the person taking the video starts running themselves.

“This is crazy,” someone can be heard saying as people continue to rush off of the festival grounds in a hurry, in a later video posted by the same person.

“This is actually crazy. How do you shoot at the garlic festival? Like who you got beef with at the garlic festival?” they continued.

Multiple people who said they were at the festival when the shooting began tweeted about it on Sunday evening.

“Holy sh*t I had just left the Gilroy Garlic Festival when some guy started shooting up the place,” wrote journalist and Bay Area resident Sarah Belle Lin on Twitter. “I’m so scared for all the families and people still there.”

Ryan Wallace, who was working near a children’s climbing wall at the festival, spoke to NBC Bay Area about his experience after hearing the shooting and said that there were children on the ride he was operating when he saw the shooter, so he rushed to get the kids off the ride, run and hide with them.

He said he heard 15-20 shots from the shooter and told NBC Bay Area that there were children shot.

“He was walking like…he wanted to get stuff done and it was horrifying,” Wallace said.

This report will be updated as more details emerge.

SFGATE staff writers Dianne DeGuzman and Katie Dowd contributed to this report.

Drew Costley is an SFGATE editorial assistant. Email: drew.costley@sfgate.com | Twitter: @drewcostley

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Report-11-people-shot-at-Gilroy-Garlic-Festival-14191965.php.

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