At least 3 people killed in shooting at Gilroy Garlic Festival

Officials and eyewitness accounts confirmed a shooting and multiple victims at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Christmas Hill Park on Sunday evening. Gilroy councilman Dion Bracco said there were three fatalities.

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.

Gilroy police planned to release more details on the shooting at a press conference scheduled for 10 p.m. local time.

Christopher Salas, an anchor and reporter for the radio station, wrote on Twitter that he confirmed with Central Coast Police that as many as 60 people were injured in the incident, but not necessarily all of the injuries were caused by a shooter.

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 said on Twitter at 7:22 p.m. that the scene was still active. The department posted to Twitter on Sunday evening 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.

“The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today’s shooting at the Garlic Festival,” they wrote.

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.”

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.

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 to NBC Bay Area.

This report will be updated as more details emerge.

SFGATE staff writer Katie Dowd contributed to this report.

Drew Costley is an SFGATE editorial assistant. Email: | Twitter: @drewcostley

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