California Garlic Festival; 19-year-old William Legan identified as shooter
He posted two photographs of himself on Sunday before the gun attack on an event that draws close to 100,000 yearly. One of the photographs according to ABC News was posted one minute before he opened fire, killing three and wounding 12.
Among the three persons he killed, before the police gunned him down, was a six-year-old boy, Stephen Romero.
ABC News said investigators are now poring through Legan’s Instagram account to find his motive.
“One entry that appears to have been posted on Sunday from the festival criticises the event. Another message posted Sunday makes reference to the book “Might is Right,” which is popular among white supremacists and viewed by some as a movement manifesto. The misogynist and anti-Semitic work is used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists on extremist sites. In the post, he also criticises people of mixed racial heritage”, ABC News reported.
Local police chief Scot Smithee said his officers, who confronted the assailant less than a minute after the alarm was raised, were searching for a possible second suspect.
The grandmother of six-year-old Stephen Romero said he was shot while attending the event with his mother and other grandmother.
Describing her grandson as “always kind, happy and… playful,” Maribel Romero told ABC7 News Stephen had died by the time she arrived at hospital.
President Donald Trump paid tribute to the victims on Monday at an event at the White House.
“While families were spending time at a local festival, a wicked murderer opened fire and killed three innocent citizens including a young child,” Trump said.
“We grieve for their families and ask that God comfort them.”
House speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose district covers most of San Francisco, spoke of the survivors’ “tough road ahead” and called for action to end gun violence.
“Every day the Senate refuses to act is a stain on the conscience of our nation,” she said.
The shooter broke into the Gilroy Garlic Festival by cutting a fence and began firing at random, local police said, confirming that 15 other festivalgoers had been wounded.
Video footage showed people fleeing in terror as rifle rounds rang out at one of the largest food events in the country, which attracts around 100,000 each year to the city of Gilroy, 80 miles (130 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco.
Smithee said the suspect appeared to have entered the 50-acre festival site via a creek, using cutting equipment to breach the event’s perimeter.
Metal detectors and bag searches were in place as part of “very tight security,” he said.
Festival director Brian Bowe told reporters it was “horribly upsetting” that the attack happened on the third and final day of this year’s event in Gilroy, which he described as an “amazing… a tightly-knit community.”
“Our 4,000-plus local volunteers work so hard every year and to see this event end this way is just one of the most tragic and sad things that I’ve ever had to see,” Bowe said.
“We feel so upset for those that are impacted — friends, families, neighbours. It’s just a horrible thing to experience.”
The Gilroy Garlic Festival features live entertainment including bands and cooking competitions as well as food and drink, according to organizers.
The family event is a major focal point for the small city of around 50,000.
Mass shootings are a frequent occurrence in the United States.
Despite the scale of the gun violence problem, efforts to address it legislatively have largely stalled at the federal level.