A gunman opened fire at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California on Sunday, leaving at least three dead, including a 6-year-old boy.
Police responded within minutes, surrounding the gunman and shooting him dead. The authorities said they are still searching for a possible accomplice who eyewitnesses said may have provided the gunman with support.
Police said the gunman and his possible accomplice cut a hole in a perimeter fence to gain access to the festival area and avoid metal detectors.
“We have one suspect that we know is [dead], and some witnesses reporting there may be a second suspect, although we don’t know if a second suspect was engaged in any shooting, or in a support role,” Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said at a news conference late Sunday.
Police have not identified the suspect or said what his motive may have been.
At least 12 people are being treated at local hospitals for gunshot wounds.
Among the dead was Stephen Romero, a 6-year-old boy from San Jose, whose mother and grandmother were also shot. They are being treated at Valley Medical Center in San Jose and are expected to survive.
“It’s sort of a nightmare you hope to never have to live,” Smithee said.
Video footage posted to social media shows crowds running for cover when the gunman opened fire.This was the 246th mass shooting in the U.S. this year, according to U.S. tracking website Gun Violence Archive.
Eyewitnesses described seeing a white male in his 30s indiscriminately shooting into the crowds attending the third and final day of the world-famous garlic festival that features food, cooking competitions, and music.
“He came ready to shoot because he was wearing a protective vest,” Michael Paz, 72, a hat vendor at the festival, told AP. “He was shooting left; he was shooting right without any particular aim.”
Singer Jack van Breen was performing on stage when the gunman opened fire. He 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 told AP he heard someone shout: “Why are you doing this?” and the reply: “Because I’m really angry.”
Cover: Gilroy Garlic festival volunteer Denise Buessing, left, embraces fellow volunteer Marsha Struzik at a reunification center in a parking lot at Gavilan College following a deadly shooting at the annual food festival in Gilroy, Calif., Sunday, July 28, 2018. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)