Site of Garlic Festival Shooting Reopens with Memorial

California Connection
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GILROY — The community of Gilroy took another step forward in the healing process after three people were killed and more than a dozen others were injured when a gunman opened fire during the final day of the city’s beloved, annual Garlic Festival.

Five weeks after the tragedy, the park where it unfolded reopened on Tuesday.

“I love this place, you know, I really care about those people who were killed, I had friends who were wounded,” Gilroy resident Lynn Cordia said.

Before they reopened the park to the public, community members wanted to make sure there was a place for people to come and remember what happened. So a local landscape architect came up with this design to honor the victims.

Three rocks sit at the front of the memorial, representing 6-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and 25-year-old Trevor Irby, who died in the attack. There are also 17 posts surrounding the new landscaping to represent those who were injured.

“And then, of course, the palm tree reflects life and hope and really just us moving forward as a community,” Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco said.

About 100 people attended the event.

Velasco says the city plans to add to the memorial at some point but wanted to create a space for remembrance as soon as possible.

“By doing this now, we’re able to open up the park, reflect on what happened here and start the healing process for Gilroy,” Velasco said.

The hope is for the people of Gilroy to begin making new memories at Christmas Hill Park.

“And the Garlic Festival, you know, it’s like next year we’re going to come back even bigger and stronger, you know, because that’s what we’re all about,” Cordia said.


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