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Suspect, 6-year-old boy among four dead in Gilroy festival shooting

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Wahn on Wikimedia
Christmas Hill Park sign in Gilroy, Calif., the site of the annual Gilroy Garlic Festival. There was an active shooter at the 41st annual festival, July 28, 2019 who shot and killed three people and injured more than a dozen others.

At least four people, including the suspect, have died and another 15 have been injured as a result of a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival Sunday, according to Gilroy Police Department Chief Scot Smitheen.

In a press conference held shortly after 9 p.m., Smitheen said that at least one suspect gained access to festival grounds without passing through metal detectors by cutting into the perimeter fence using “some sort of a tool.” The festival was hosted at Christmas Hill Park on Miller Avenue.

The first reports of an active shooter came in around 5:41 p.m. and within one minute, Gilroy police had engaged the suspect, who Smitheen said was shot and killed. The chief explained that several officers were already on site as is standard practice during large events.

A six-year-old boy, Stephen Romero, is among the dead, as confirmed by Steven’s father, Alberto Romero, to NBC Bay Area. Alberto Romero’s wife and mother-in-law were also injured. Romero said:

“I lost my son. There’s really nothing I can do but try to be with him until I put him in his final resting spot.”

Shooting victims have been admitted to St. Louise Regional Hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Stanford Medical Center, according to hospital spokespeople Joy Alexiou and Lisa Kim.

Police are still looking for an additional suspect but are unclear if the second suspect was involved with the shooting. Smitheen did not provide details about the first suspect or divulge any motive. Several agencies quickly arrived to assist the manhunt and investigation, including officers from Santa Clara and Monterey counties.

A reunification area has been set up near the site for friends and family members that were separated during the chaos. A reunification hotline is available by phone at (408) 846-0584.


CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misspelled Stephen Romero’s name as Steven. The text has since been corrected.

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