Father Says He Rushed Gunman at Gilroy Garlic Festival

Staring down gunfire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, one father said he decided to rush the gunman.

Chris, a Merced County man who did not want to provide his last name, said he charged the 19-year-old shooter when he saw the gun jam and an ammunition clip drop out.

“At that opportunity, I realized I better do something,” Chris said. “So I jumped up and ran towards him, but I didn’t make it all the way. He picked up his clip at that moment, and he looked at me and said, ‘No.’ Shook his head and ‘No’ out of his mouth came. I wasn’t the hero because people died after that. I stopped. I backed up. I didn’t think I was going to make it all the way. And I dove back into my tent.”

Three people were killed and a dozen others were hurt during the shooting on the final day of the popular food festival south of San Francisco. The dead included 6-year-old Stephen Romero and 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, both from San Jose, and 25-year-old Trever Irby, a college graduate from upstate New York. Authorities are still trying to determine the shooter’s motive.

AP Photo/Noah Berger

Chris and his family were at the annual festival selling shaved ice. When the gunman opened fire an estimated 20 to 30 feet away from his booth, Chris and his family hit the deck and hid underneath a table.

“I didn’t know if it was real or not,” Chris recalled. “I just stood there in disbelief. And then my wife and my daughter dove down under the table and someone yelled, ‘There’s a shooter! Get down!'”

Chris kept an eye on the shooter and eventually jumped into action when the shooting came to a halt.

Chris said the gunman didn’t shoot in his direction, but instead headed to an area where children were playing at a slide.

During the rampage, Chris said the gunman appeared to be at peace, was calm, cool, smiling, and did not appear to be in a hurry.

Three Gilroy police officers responded within a minute and fatally shot the suspect.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This post was originally posted at http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Father-Rushed-Gunman-Gilroy-Garlic-Festival-513384191.html.

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