Monday, July 29, 2019 at 4:10 am
GILROY, Calif. (AP) – A gunman cut through a fence to avoid security and opened fire at a Northern California’s festival, killing three and wounding at least 15 before police fatally shot him as terrified people and performers ran for cover.
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said the gunman was armed with a rifle and sneaked in through a fence that borders a parking lot next to a creek. He appeared to randomly target people when he opened fire just after 5:30 p.m. Sunday, the conclusion of the three-day festival that attracts more than 100,000 people to the city.
Police responded within a minute, engaged the suspect and killed him, Smithee said.
Some witnesses reported a second suspect, Smithee said, but it was unclear whether that person was armed or simply provided assistance. A manhunt continued late into the night.
Smithee called the scene at the festival a “nightmare you hope you never have to live.”
The wounded were taken to multiple hospitals, and their conditions ranged from fair to critical, with some in surgery Sunday night. At least five were treated and released.
The Gilroy Garlic Festival features food, cooking contests and music. It’s a decades-old staple in the agricultural city of 50,000 about 80 miles southeast of San Francisco, and normally a sea of tranquility for families. Security is tight — festival-goers pass through metal detectors and their bags are searched.
In a tweet, California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the bloodshed “nothing short of horrific” and expressed appreciation for the police response. President Donald Trump tweeted before authorities confirmed the gunman was dead and urged people to “be careful and safe!”