California

Who is the Gilroy shooting gunman? Police identify 19-year-old Santino William Legan

The gunman who killed three people and wounded 12 others Sunday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival has been identified as Santino William Legan, a 19-year-old who was killed by police within minutes of opening fire, sources told the Associated Press Monday.

Legan is the grandson of a former Santa Clara County supervisor, Tom Legan, who died last year, and police were searching his father’s home in a cul de sac less than two miles from the shooting scene.

Family members could not be reached for comment Monday, but a neighbor said the area was a quiet neighborhood and that the family posed no problems in the past.

Ernesto Mendoza, 70, said he has lived there six or seven years and has waved at Legan family members when he sees them.

“Ever since we don’t have any problems, that’s why we are shocked,” Mendoza said. “So far as we know they are some nice people.”

Legan’s brother, Rosino, is a boxer who is training for the 2020 Olympics and has fought in 65 matches with the San Jose Police Athletic League. (That page spells the family name as “LeGan.”)

Police were expected to release additional information at a 10 a.m. news conference.

The attack began at 5:41 p.m. Sunday on the last day of the three-day festival, and sent hundreds of people fleeing for their lives once they realized a gunman was in their midst.

The dead included a 6-year-old boy, and witnesses said the gunman opened fire after emerging from a food court area carrying a rifle.

“We were eating and we heard a pop, pop noise and then we heard it again, pop, pop, pop,” said Miquita Price, a 42-year-old Vallejo woman who arrived at the fair at 12:30 Sunday. “And then my husband said, ‘It’s shooting,’ and he pushed me down.

“The pop sounds were clear, and when he stopped shooting I got up and ran for cover over to an Enterprise truck. Me, my husband and a lady and her daughter all ran for cover and as we were running the gunman started back up.

“The lady, her neck was hit. We see that she’s bleeding and she’s freaking out. I’m freaking out. We are all hiding under this truck and I told my husband, ’We’re safe.’ And he said, ‘No, we’re not safe. The sheriff can’t save us.’”

At that point a sheriff’s deputy told the group to run, Price said, and she and her husband scrambled over a chain link fence and ran for blocks to safety.

“I ran out of my shoes,” she said in a telephone interview with The Bee from her home. “I came home without shoes, I have lacerations and cuts.”

Price said she did not hear the gunman say anything before he opened fire, and she said her husband, Eddie, saw him emerge from the food court area.

“My husband saw the fire being spit out of the gun,” she said. “It was a white male and he was in army fatigues. He came out of the food court, and that’s when he opened fire.

“People were screaming and running. It was chaos everywhere.”

Police said Sunday they were investigating whether a second person was involved in the attack, but Price said she saw no indication that anyone else was involved and that there did not appear to be any confrontation to set the gunman off.

“We didn’t hear any screams, we didn’t hear any altercation, we didn’t hear anything,” she said. “I don’t know if he was alone. I didn’t see anyone.”

Price said her 17-year-old daughter had left the festival about 30 minutes before the shooting, and that she immediately called her after escaping the scene to tell her she was safe.

“I called her, I called all my family to tell them I was safe,” Price said. “I didn’t think I was going to make it out of there.”

Police said they believe the gunman cut through a fence to gain access to the festival grounds, and that fair goers were checked at the gates with metal detectors and wands before being allowed in.

But Price said she didn’t experience any security like that, and was allowed to enter after a security person looked inside her purse.

“They only asked me to open my purse,” she said. “I was not patted down. There were many opportunities for people to walk in, the security was very relaxed.”

Price said she finally arrived back home at 12:30 a.m. Monday and spent a sleepless night thinking about her narrow escape.

“I would never have thought in a million years this could happen,” she said. “I read the news, I get alerts on my phone. but I would never have thought this could happen.”

Some people ran for safety when they heard the shots, others hid wherever they could find shelter, and some initially thought the shots were firecrackers.

Ehren Brixner, a 43-year-old vendor from Santa Cruz, said people began running and security directed people toward one side of the event toward safety.

“We heard a couple of gunshots coming from the other side of the park,” Brixner said.

Erik Medina, a 32-year-old Gilroy man who was working at a garlic bread stand, described confusion and panic as the shots rang out, and said he escaped by hiding in a truck for 30 minutes.

“People were sort of running back toward the original direction,” Medina said. “I heard it was a false alarm because I originally had some friends in the amphitheater from my group and then I met them later ... and they said everything’s fine, someone just panicked.”

As law enforcement swarmed the scene and helicopters hovered overhead, residents and others who made it out to safety shared water bottles and cell phones to people to call loved ones and tell them they were safe.

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Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.
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