'California garlic festival shooting: four dead in Gilroy attack, including gunman'

以下、The Guardian (Mon 29 Jul 2019 09.11 EDT)から。

Gunman kills three people before being shot dead by police
Police have reportedly identified shooter as 19-year-old

Vivian Ho in San Francisco, Adam Gabbatt in New York and agencies

A gunman killed three people, including a six-year-old boy, and injured at least 11 people when he opened fire at a food festival in northern California before being shot dead by police.

The gunman used a rifle and gained entry to the Gilroy garlic festival by cutting through a fence to avoid tight security, including metal detectors, police said.

A second suspect was “involved in some way, we just don’t know in what way”, the Gilroy police chief, Scot Smithee, said at a late-night press conference. The police chief said the motive behind the killings remained unclear. CBS News reported that police had identified the shooter as 19-year-old Santino William Legan.

On Monday it emerged that six-year-old Stephen Romero was among the victims. His grandmother, Maribel Romero, told KGO-TV that Romero was a “loving boy” who was “always kind, happy and, you know, playful”. Romero’s father, Alberto Romero said his son had been playing on a bouncy castle when the shooting happened. Romero was not at the festival, and learned that Stephen had been shot when his wife called from the hospital.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening, that what she was saying was a lie, that maybe I was dreaming,” Romero told Mercury News.

Gilroy police said officers engaged the gunman “in less than a minute”, killing him. Police were continuing their investigation through the night “with multiple agencies on scene assisting”, a statement said. Police did not identify the second suspect. They are due to give an update later on Monday.

Founded in 1979, the festival revolves around the celebrated crop of the region, featuring garlic-inspired foods, drink, live entertainment and cooking competitions. It is hosted by volunteers and describes itself as the world’s greatest summer food festival. Gilroy is about 30 miles (48km) south of San Jose.

A few hours before the shooting, festivalgoers were still showing up by the busload, milling around Christmas Hill Park under a hot sun and amid the scent of garlic.

Parents fed their toddlers bites of garlic ice cream as families lounged under the shade of the trees, fanning themselves in the heat. Women danced to live music while others munched on garlic fries, garlic pasta, garlic bread and garlic shrimp.

Videos posted on social media appeared to show attendees scattering in confusion as at least one loud popping sound could be heard in the background. “What’s going on?” a woman can be heard asking on one video. “Who’d shoot up a garlic festival?”

Weapons of any kind are prohibited at Christmas Hill Park and security personnel check bags upon arrival.

Evenny Reyes, 13, told the San Jose Mercury News that at first she thought the sound of gunfire was fireworks but then she saw someone with a wounded leg.

“We were just leaving and we saw a guy with a bandana wrapped around his leg because he got shot,” Reyes told the newspaper. “There was a little kid hurt on the ground. People were throwing tables and cutting fences to get out.”

Jack van Breen, the singer of the band Tin Man, told Associated Press he had seen a man wearing a green shirt and greyish handkerchief around his neck fire into the food area with what looked like an assault rifle.

Van Breen and other members of the band dived under the stage. Van Breen says he heard someone shout: “Why are you doing this?” and the reply was: “Because I’m really angry.”

Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday night that people in the area should “be careful and safe!” but is yet to issue further comment. On Monday morning the president was tweeting a fresh series of attacks on Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings, and the city of Baltimore in his district, after picking a fight with the senior Democrat over the weekend.

And Trump aimed an attack at the civil rights activist Al Sharpton, who plans to hold a press conference in Baltimore later on Monday morning.

A number of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates reacted to the shooting overnight.

“This violence is not normal,” Joe Biden tweeted. “How many more families will have to lose a loved one before we fix our broken gun laws? We must take action, starting with real reform.”

California senator Kamala Harris said the shooting was “simply horrific”. She added: “Our country has a gun violence epidemic that we cannot tolerate.” Beto O’Rourke linked the shooting to “all who are affected by the 40,000 gun deaths in America each year”.

The governor of California, Gavin Newsom, said his office was monitoring the situation closely. “This is nothing short of horrific,” he said.

The incident came after a mass shooting on the east coast on Saturday. One person was killed and 11 injured when at least two gunmen opened fire during an event in Brownsville, Brooklyn. The New York Times reported that police had made to make any arrests by Sunday evening.