Suicide, not police, killed California festival gunman
By STEFANIE DAZIO Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The gunman who opened fire on a California food festival killed himself after officers shot him multiple times, officials said, correcting previous police accounts that the officers fired the fatal bullet.
Police gave the update Friday, soon after the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office said 19-year-old Santino William Legan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Legan killed three people — including two children — and injured 13 others at the popular Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday. Authorities say they have not yet been able to determine his motive.
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee told reporters that the timeline remains the same: Three veteran police officers responded in less than a minute and fired multiple rounds when Legan turned his AK-47-style semi-automatic rifle on them. Smithee said the officers hit him multiple times, and he fell to the ground with the rifle.
“He was able to get one more round off, and he was able to shoot himself in the head,” the police chief said.
Smithee said he was “a little surprised” to hear that Legan had shot himself. “I don’t think that changes anything about the heroics of our officers,” he said.
The chief did not know how many times police fired at him or how many bullets struck him. A full coroner’s report is pending.
Legan killed 6-year-old Stephen Romero and 13-year-old Keyla Salazar of San Jose, along with Trevor Irby, 25, of Romulus, New York, on the last day of the long-running festival. It draws more than 100,000 people with music, food booths and cooking classes to the city roughly 80 miles (129 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco.
John Bennett, the FBI’s special agent in charge in San Francisco, has said Legan did not appear to be targeting a particular group and that he did not seem to follow a specific ideology.
Legan’s social media raised questions after he urged his Instagram followers on the day of the attack to read a 19th-century book popular with white supremacists on extremist websites. Profilers were working to determine a motive through interviews and combing through physical and digital evidence.
Officials say their investigation has not shown that anyone else was involved.
But authorities arrested a man earlier this week on suspicion of making threats online that apparently referenced the deadly shooting. Jose Pinon, 40, of Gilroy, posted Wednesday on Facebook that “my goal is to kill 500, not three,” Gilroy police said.
Police Capt. Joseph Deras said officials did not seize any weapons from Pinon’s home Thursday and do not believe he was planning an attack.
A 22-year-old man, whom police did not identify, posted on Facebook soon after the shooting that he had participated — prompting a SWAT response to his Gilroy home. He was arrested on unrelated warrants, but police did not charge him in connection with his Facebook post because authorities did not believe he had any “criminal intent,” Deras said.