Gilroy, CA – The gunman who murdered one adult and two children during the Gilroy Garlic Festival was killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound after he was shot multiple times by police.
Twelve more festival-goers were wounded during the brief rampage, which ended less than a minute after it began, KNTV reported.
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee initially told reporters that officers fired the fatal round, but the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office subsequently determined that the 19-year-old gunman fatally shot himself during the exchange of gunfire, according to KNTV.
The incident occurred at about 5:41 p.m. on July 28 on the north side of the festival area as the third day of the popular event that attracted thousands to Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy was wrapping up three days of festivities, KNTV reported.
Witness Julissa Contreras said that the gunman was wearing “tactical gear” during the attack, CNN reported.
“He was dressed for what he was there to do,” Contreras said. “He seemed very well-versed in what he was doing.”
“Officers were in that area and engaged the suspect in less than a minute. The suspect was shot and killed,” Chief Smithee told reporters shortly after the rampage, according to KNTV.
The festival was enclosed by a fence and security searched bags at the entrance to ensure that nobody was bringing in any weapons.
“It appears as though they had come into the festival via the creek which borders a parking area. They used some sort of a tool to cut through the fence to be able to gain access through the secure fence line, and that’s how they got into the festival area itself,” the chief added.
The band Tin Man was performing on stage at the festival when the shooting began, according to KPIX.
Jack van Breen, the band’s singer, told police that he saw a man wearing a green shirt and a gray handkerchief around his neck fire a rifle into the food area.
The band members dove under the stage to escape the threat.
KPIX reported that van Breen said he heard somebody shout “Why are you doing this?” and the gunman replied, “Because I’m really angry!”
Chief Smithee said that there were “many, many officers in the park” when the gunman opened fire “which accounts for the very, very quick response time” to the incident.
Three officers opened fire on the gunman, who then began shooting at them with an “AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle,” KNTV reported.
The suspect was shot multiple times during the gun battle, and collapsed to the ground, Chief Smithee said.
He then managed to use his own weapon to kill himself.
"He was able to get one more round off, and he was able to shoot himself in the head," the chief explained.
Chief Smithee said that it didn’t matter who fired the bullet that killed the active shooter.
“In my mind, it changes nothing,” he said. “The officers still got there fast, they engaged him fast and drew his fire, and they eliminated the threat.”
He described the officers who stopped the gunman as heroes.
Six-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar, and 25-year-old Trevor Irby were all murdered during the attack.
A SWAT team descended on the residence of an unnamed 22-year-old man who made a social media post claiming to have been involved in the attack, KNTV reported.
The suspect was arrested for unrelated warrants, but investigators do not believe he had any connection with the mass shooting.
Meanwhile, police arrested 40-year-old Jose Pinon after he made a social media post declaring that his “goal is to kill 500, not three,” KNTV reported.
Investigators said they do not believe he was planning an attack, Gilroy Police Captain Joseph Deras said.