Shooting at Gilroy Garlic festival: 3 dead, 12 injured in Northern California; witnesses say 'white man in his 30s' carried out shooting with rifle

Three people were killed and 12 others injured on Sunday after a shooting that sent panicked people running at an annual food festival in Northern California, according to a city official.

The shooting occurred during the three-day celebration featuring food, cooking competitions and music that attracts more than 100,000 people. Sunday was the final day of this year's event. Gilroy Councilman Dion Bracco told The Associated Press the number of dead and injured is a preliminary figure.

 Shooting at Gilroy Garlic festival: 3 dead, 12 injured in Northern California; witnesses say white man in his 30s carried out shooting with rifle

Emergency personnel stand outside Gilroy High School following a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. AP

The band Tin Man was just starting an encore when shots rang out.

Singer Jack van Breen said he saw a man wearing a green shirt and grayish handkerchief around his neck fire into the food area with what looked like an assault rifle.

Van Breen and other members of the band dove under the stage. Van Breen says he heard someone shout: "Why are you doing this? "and the reply: "because I'm really angry. "

His bandmate Vlad Malinovsky from Walnut Creek, California, said he heard a lot of shots and then it stopped. Later, law enforcement came by and told the band members and others hiding with them to come out with their hands up.

Stanford Medical Center has two patients being treated from the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, spokeswoman Julie Greicius said. She had no details on their injuries or conditions. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center received five victims, spokeswoman Joy Alexiou said. She also had no information on their conditions.

Evenny Reyes of Gilroy, 13, told the newspaper that spent the day at the Gilroy Garlic Festival with her friends and relatives.

"We were just leaving and we saw a guy with a bandana wrapped around his leg because he got shot. And there were people on the ground, crying," Reyes said. "There was a little kid hurt on the ground. People were throwing tables and cutting fences to get out."

President Donald Trump tweeted about the shooting Sunday night. "Law Enforcement is at the scene of shootings in Gilroy, California. Reports are that shooter has not yet been apprehended. Be careful and safe!" he wrote.

Reyes told the Mercury News that she didn't run at first because the gunshots sounded like fireworks. "It started going for five minutes, maybe three. It was like the movies — everyone was crying, people were screaming."

NBC News quoted a witness named Julissa Contreras as saying a white man in his 30s carried out the shooting with a rifle.

"I could see him shooting in just every direction. He wasn't aiming at anyone specifically. It was just left to right, right to left," Contreras said, according to NBC. "Grateful to first responders who are on the scene in Gilroy and keeping those injured by such senseless violence in my thoughts," Senator Kamala Harris, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, wrote on Twitter.

Todd Jones, a sound engineer, told the newspaper that he was at the front of the festival's Vineyard stage when he heard what sounded like a firework. "But then it started to increase, more rapidly, which sounded more like gunfire, and at that point people realized what was happening," Jones said.

Video first posted on social media sites about 5:30 pm showed people running for safety at the festival. Agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are responding to the scene of the shooting.

Gilroy is a city of roughly 50,000 located about 80 miles (176 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco. It's dubbed the "Garlic Capital of the World," and the annual garlic festival is a three-day celebration featuring food, cooking competitions and music that attracts more than 100,000 people. Sunday was the final day of this year's event.

The Gilroy Police Department on its Twitter account issued a statement saying: "The hearts of Gilroy PD and entire community go out to the victims of today's shooting at the Garlic Festival. The scene is still active. If you are looking for a loved one, please go to the reunification center at Gavilan College at parking lot B."

The festival is a nationally known three-day event that attracts thousands of garlic lovers. Sunday was the final day of the festival. The San Francisco Chronicle did not know how many people were involved in the shooting Sunday.

Updated Date: Jul 29, 2019 10:49:44 IST