Trump on Gilroy Shooting: We Will Work to ‘Stop Evil, Prevent Violence, and Protect the Safety of All Americans’

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
July 29, 2019 Updated: July 29, 2019

President Donald Trump sent his condolences to victims of the deadly shooting in Gilroy, California, on Monday, July 29, saying that the communities and citizens will work together to “stop evil, prevent violence, and protect the safety of all Americans.”

“We express our deepest sadness and sorrow for families who lost a precious loved one in the horrific shooting last night at Gilroy, California,” Trump said at the White House before the signing of the 9/11 victim compensation fund bill. “While families were spending time together at a local festival, a wicked murderer opened fire and killed three innocent citizens, including a young child.”

“We grieve for their families and we ask that God will comfort them with his overflowing mercy and grace. We’re praying for those who are recovering right now in the hospital. Some very very serious injuries,” he continued.

Trump expressed appreciation to the first responders who engaged the shooter within minutes of shots being fired before killing him.

“We reaffirm our national will to answer violence with the courage, determination, resolve of one American family,” Trump said.

At least three people have been killed and over dozen more injured after a shooting at a popular food festival took place in the afternoon of Sunday, July 28. Authorities said the killer entered the festival by cutting through a fence before he opened fire at the crowd sparking panic throughout the festival.

A law enforcement official told the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity that the suspect has been identified as 19-year-old Santino William Legan.

Garlic Festival shooting
This screenshot of Santino William Legan’s Instagram account shows a selfie of Legan, who opened fire with an “assault-type rifle” at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., killing two children and another man, on July 28, 2019. (Instagram via AP)

Police searched the Legan family’s two-story Gilroy home and a dusty car parked outside before leaving the house Monday with paper bags and what appeared to be other evidence.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said the suspect appeared to have targeted his victims randomly before he was killed by police within minutes. Authorities said there were reports of a second suspect but they were not clear whether that person was armed or just helped in some way. A manhunt for the second person is underway.

Among the dead is a six-year-old boy, Stephen Romero, according to his father.

“My son had his whole life to live and he was only 6,” Alberto Romero told San Francisco Bay Area news station KNTV. “That’s all I can say.”

The boy’s grandmother, Maribel Romero, told Los Angeles station KABC-TV that she searched several hospitals before learning he had died. She said he was “always kind, happy and, you know, playful.”

Other victims of the shooting have not been identified by police, but authorities will provide an update on the investigation later on Monday.

Those injured were transported to multiple hospitals, and their conditions ranged from fair to critical. Some were still undergoing surgery. At least five were treated and released.

Following the shooting, Trump reacted to the situation in a Twitter post on July 28.

“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.

Similarly, California Governor Gavin Newsom condemned the shooting as “horrific.”

“This is nothing short of horrific. Tonight, CA stands with the Gilroy community. My office is monitoring the situation closely. Grateful for the law enforcement’s efforts and their continued work as this situation develops,” he wrote.

Other politicians also sent their condolences for the victims. Meanwhile, several Democratic presidential candidates also reacted to the shooting, while taking the opportunity to push their gun control agenda.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival attracts more than 100,000 people to the city known as the “Garlic Capital of the World,” according to Smithee. The festival, which was founded in 1979, is hosted by thousands of community volunteers to raise money for local schools, charities, and non-profit organizations, according to the festival’s website.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association released a statement about the incident on their website on Monday.

“Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and everyone affected by this horrific event. We are offering any and all resources available to support our community and law enforcement. We ask for your prayers and understanding at this incredibly difficult time,” the statement said.

“We are heartbroken that senseless violence brought this year’s festival to such a terrible and tragic end. We are truly grateful to the Gilroy Police Department, who responded immediately to prevent further loss of life, and to the hundreds of other first responders from regional and federal agencies who have provided additional support. We are also thankful for the thoughts and prayers and outpouring of support from people all over the world,” Shawn Keck, president of the 2019 Gilroy Garlic Festival, said in the statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.