Inside the Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting

was nearing the end of the Gilroy Garlic Festival’s final day in Northern California when attendees heard gunshots followed by the sounds of their own screams.

According to witnesses, the shooter, Santino William Legan, angrily fired into the crowd at random, killing three and injuring over a dozen others. Among the dead are a 6-year-old boy, a 13-year-old girl, and a young man in his 20s. While Legan was shot and killed as soon as police arrived at the scene, the damage had already been done, leaving everyone with one looming, onerous question: why?

Just weeks before the attack, Legan had legally purchased an assault-style rifle in the state of Nevada, where gun laws are relatively lenient. In fact, Nevada earned a grade of D for its firearms legislation from the Gifford Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, while California was awarded an A. Similarly, the gun in which he used is actually illegal in California.

While authorities have been unable to establish a motive for the shooting, a deep dive into Legan’s social media revealed that he was not one to shy away from voicing his often bigoted and hateful views, having previously posted various xenophobic and racist comments online. Just prior to the deadly attack, Legan posted a picture of Smokey the Bear on Instagram with the caption, “Read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white tw**ts?”

Despite Legan’s Instagram posts and overall social media presence, police are still referring to the shooting as a “random act,” explaining that the lack of security cameras makes it increasingly difficult to determine a particular motive.

Either way, the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting is now yet another mass tragedy to add to America’s gruesome and ever-growing collection.

Freelance writer covering culture, politics, and LGBTQ+ rights.

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