Cops shoot dead gunman who broke into Gilroy Garlic Festival in California by cutting through a fence before opening fire, killing three people including a six-year-old boy and injuring 15 others as officers hunt a potential accomplice
- A gunman opened fire on crowds at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California at 5.41pm Sunday
- Police Chief Scott Smithee said the suspect was shot dead by police seconds after he began firing a rifle
- Smithee said officials are still searching for a second involved suspect whose role in the shooting is unclear
- The two suspects entered the festival via a creek on the north side, where they cut through a fence
- The police chief confirmed that three unidentified victims were killed and 15 others were injured
- One of the victims killed was six-year-old Steven Romero of San Jose, family members confirmed to NBC
- Several witnesses reported seeing a man in military fatigues spraying the crowd with bullets
- Video shows panicked attendees fleeing the park after the shots rang out and victims covered in blood
- President Donald Trump, California Governor Gavin Newsom and other officials tweeted about the shooting
- Anyone who saw anything during the shooting is urged to call police at 408-846-0583
Six-year-old Steven Romero (pictured) was killed when a gunman opened fire on the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California on Sunday evening
A gunman who opened fire on the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California, killing three people and injuring at least 15 others, has been shot dead.
Gunfire erupted at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy, outside Santa Cruz, at 5.41pm Sunday as the annual festival was finishing up its third and final day.
Gilroy Police Chief Scott Smithee spoke at a press conference shortly after 10.15pm local time and confirmed that one suspect was shot dead by police within seconds of when he began firing a rifle into the crowd of festival-goers.
Smithee said officials are still searching for a second suspect involved. He said that person’s role in the shooting is unclear.
The two suspects are believed to have entered the festival via a creek on the north side, where they used a tool to cut through a fence in order to avoid strict security at official entrances.
The police chief confirmed that there were four known fatalities – the three victims and the shooter – and 15 confirmed injuries. Earlier reports indicated that as many as 60 people were injured in the mayhem.
One of the victims killed was six-year-old Steven Romero of San Jose, family members confirmed to NBC Bay Area.
The little boy’s mom was also shot in the stomach and hand and transported to a hospital.
Officials are expected to continue their investigation throughout the night and will provide additional information at a news conference Monday morning.
Several witnesses reported hearing popping noises and then seeing a white male in his 30s wearing military fatigues ‘indiscriminately’ spraying the crowd with bullets from a semi-automatic weapon for several minutes.
‘He was walking like a police officer. Like he wanted to get stuff done,’ a festival worker told NBC.
Multiple videos posted on social media show panicked attendees fleeing the park as gunshots ring out in the background.
‘What’s going on?’ a woman can be heard asking in a clip. ‘Who’d shoot up a garlic festival?’
One video shows two bloodied victims lying on the ground, while another showed victims being treated inside a trailer.
A gunman who opened fire on the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California Sunday evening was shot dead by police. Witness video appears to show officers surrounding the suspect after they took him town within seconds of when he started shooting
Police are seen standing over a person believed to be the suspect shot dead in the confrontation
Four people were killed and at least 15 were injured during the active shooting situation at Christmas Hill Park in Gilroy
Festival attendees covered in blood are seen being treated inside a trailer for gunshot wounds
Video shows panicked attendees fleeing the park as gunfire erupts in the background, continuing for several minutes
Emergency personnel are seen helping an injured person out of the park. Officials said at least 15 people total were injured
Multiple local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and ATF, responded to the scene (pictured)
Heavily-armed officers are pictured at the scene as a suspect is believed to still be at large near Christmas Hill Park
Gilroy Police Chief Scott Smithee (left) and Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco (right) spoke at a 10.15pm press conference
One witness told NBC Bay Area he was headed out of the event when he felt a bullet whiz by his head and saw everyone running behind him.
A woman told the outlet she heard popping noises and then turned around to see a man who appeared to be reloading a semi-automatic weapon.
Another witness said the shooting took place between food tents and from a child’s play area.
‘We were just leaving and we saw a guy with a bandana wrapped around his leg because he got shot,’ Evenny Reyes, 13, told the San Jose Mercury News.
‘There was a little kid hurt on the ground. People were throwing tables and cutting fences to get out.’
The band Tin Man was just starting an encore when shots rang out. Singer Jack van Breen said he saw a man wearing a green shirt and grayish handkerchief around his neck fire into the food area with what looked like an assault rifle.
Van Breen and other members of the band dove under the stage. Van Breen says he heard someone shout: ‘Why are you doing this?’
The gunman reportedly replied: ‘Because I’m really angry.’
His bandmate Vlad Malinovsky from Walnut Creek, California, said he heard a lot of shots and then it stopped.
Later, law enforcement came by and told the band members and others hiding with them to come out with their hands up.
A victim is seen with bloody wounds on both of his legs in a video posted to Twitter
Police have yet to confirm the number of victims shot or otherwise injured in the mayhem
The father of six-year-old victim Steven Romero shared a photo (left) of his son on Instagram with the caption: ‘If anyone has info on the shooting of Gilroy garlic festival get at me he killed my son.’ Another relative shared an undated photo of the youngster smiling at his sixth birthday party (right)
President Donald Trump tweeted about the shooting
California Governor Gavin Newsom also tweeted about the horror situation in his state
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, a headliner at the festival, also tweeted
A spokeswoman for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center said at least five gunshot victims have been taken to the hospital. Their conditions were unknown.
A spokeswoman for Stanford Medical Center said two patients were being treated there as well.
At the press conference, Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco said ‘the situation is still fluid, active’.
‘I want to express my extreme shock and sadness over what has happened today. I would ask for the thoughts and prayers of the community. We plan on being out here all night,’ Velasco said.
Police Chief Smithee said: ‘It’s just incredibly sad and disheartening that at an event that does so much good the community had to suffer from a tragedy like this.’
‘The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today’s shooting at the Garlic Festival. The scene is still active. If you are looking for a loved one, please go to the reunification center at Gavilan College at parking lot B,’ the Gilroy Police Department wrote on Twitter.
Officials asked anyone who saw anything during the shooting to call 408-846-0583.
Teresa Giudice, who was also an attendee at the festival yesterday, tweeted her support and thoughts to victims
President Donald Trump tweeted: ‘Law Enforcement is at the scene of shootings in Gilroy, California. Reports are that shooter has not yet been apprehended. Be careful and safe!’
California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted: ‘This is nothing short of horrific. Tonight, CA stands with the Gilroy community.
‘My office is monitoring the situation closely. Grateful for the law enforcement’s efforts and their continued work as this situation develops.’
Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, a headliner at the festival, also tweeted: ‘I was in Gilroy at the Garlic Festival yesterday. Really great community. Prayers go out to all’.
Teresa Giudice who was also an attendee at the festival yesterday tweeted: ‘I am so sad hearing about the shooting tonight at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, I was there yesterday and just got back to New Jersey.
‘I am praying for everyone there.’
Emergency personnel stand outside Gilroy High School following the deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Armed officers are seen above responding to the scene. A woman told the outlet she heard popping noises and then turned around to see a man who appeared to be reloading a semi-automatic weapon
Gilroy Garlic festival volunteer Denise Buessing, left, embraces fellow volunteer Marsha Struzik at a reunification center
Gavilan College, located 3.2 miles from the park, was set up as a reunification site for festival attendees who were reportedly transported there by bus and in civilian vehicles.
The public was urged to stay away from the festival area and from Gavilan College if they were not immediately affected by the incident.
The three-day event is officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Garlic Festival, attracting thousands of visitors each summer.
The festival is considered a ‘gun free zone’, and attendees say they were searched thoroughly before entering the park.
Money raised during the event is donated to charity.
This year’s 41st annual festival featured a giant outdoor kitchen and ‘Pyro Chefs’ creating flame shows while cooking garlic calamari and scampi alongside booths serving pasta, pepper steak sandwiches at ‘Gourmet Alley’, the main food area.
There were also three stages with live entertainment, a wine garden, a cocktail booth and a children’s play area.
Singer Colbie Caillat and her band Gone West headlined the festival on Saturday.
Another highlight was a Garli-Que BBQ Challenge and the Great Garlic Cook-Off hosted by Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio.
Another witness said the shooting took place between food tents and from a child’s play area
People look on from near the scene of a mass shooting during the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Details about the situation are still emerging. It was still active as of 8.45pm local time
The three-day event is officially recognized by Guinness World Records as the World’s Largest Garlic Festival, attracting thousands of visitors each summer
One witness told NBC Bay Area he was headed out of the event when he felt a bullet whiz by his head and saw everyone running behind him