Gilroy Garlic Festival Gunman Died by Suicide, Coroner Says

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The 19-year-old who carried out a mass shooting last weekend at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, contradicting initial police reports, officials said on Friday.

Santino Legan, who killed three people—including two children—and injured 13 others on Sunday, the last day of the festival, with an AK-47-type rifle shot himself after being confronted and injured by police, The Mercury News reported, citing the Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office.

Per The Mercury News:

On Friday, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee offered a corrected narrative: Legan switched from firing his AK-47-style rifle at the crowd to shooting at the officers as soon as they arrived on the scene, he said at a news conference. Officers shot Legan multiple times, bringing him to his knees, then down on the ground. At some point during that onslaught Legan shot himself.


After the shooting, officials had said that police officers fatally wounded Legan. However, Smithee said that the corrected information does not change the basic narrative he and other officials put forth after the attack.

“In my mind it changes nothing,” Smithee said, according to the newspaper. “The officers still got there fast, they engaged him fast, they drew his fire and they eliminated the threat. Whether he fired that final shot or not in my mind changes nothing.”


Police officers responded within a minute after Legan began randomly firing on the crowd of festivalgoers, as the popular garlic-themed food and live music event was winding down. The quick response is believed to have prevented more casualties, according to the police chief.

The victims included 6-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, and 25-year-old Trevor Irby.


Legan had circumvented security at the festival by cutting through a fence at the perimeter of the event, according to reports. Although he was a native of Gilroy, Legan had lived in Nevada in the months prior to the mass shooting. He purchased the AK-47-type rifle used in the attack from Big Mike’s Gun and Ammo in Fallon, Nevada.

According to ABC News, authorities do not believe a second person was involved, despite initial contradictory reports that suggested there might have been a second shooter or someone who assisted Legan.


However, police arrested two other men in Gilroy who posted messages on social media referring to the shooting. Earlier this week, police arrested a 40-year-old man in Gilroy for posting a Facebook message that said, “my goal is to kill 500, not three,” according to ABC News.

A 22-year-old also was arrested in a separate incident after claiming on Facebook that he was involved in the Gilroy attack. Police said they did not believe either man was involved in the garlic festival shooting or was planning another attack.