Survivors Describe Chaos as Garlic Festival Shooting Took Place

California Connection
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GILROY — Images from people attending Gilroy Garlic Festival show panic as families fled gunfire early Sunday evening. Police say 19-year-old Santino William Legan opened fire with an “assault-style” rifle and “It’s not something that you’d ever think would happen because Gilroy is such a tight community,” witness Kayla Gorshe said. She and her twin sister Mackenna lived through a nightmare. “All I saw was people going down, like, running, running and going down on the floor and screaming,” Mackenna said. The two 11-year-olds and their family say they were just feet away from the gunman when he began shooting. “We see people fall down and I saw someone fall down and some blood splattered on the port-a-potty and the girls started screaming,” said witness Shannon Gilbert. Kayla described the shooter as tall and thin, “like he was probably like a dorky Boy Scout.” The girls’ father, Brendon Gorshe, says he was in his truck and ready to take action by running Legan over. Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee says officers already at the festival began engaging the gunman within a minute of him opening fire. Legan’s neighbors were shocked and said he came from a seemingly lovely family. “You have a father that is dedicated to his kids, a mom devoted to the kids, and this happens and you don’t understand why,” neighbor Elia Scettrini said. City, state and federal agents swarmed LeGan’s home and carried away bags of evidence Monday morning. “The crime scene is much more expansive than what we originally thought and it amounts to many, many, many acres,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Farrow said. The Gorshe family will now work through the harrowing experience they survived as they grieve for the families who have lost. “I still kind of like have a sick feeling in my gut,” Kayla said. Police say Legan started firing around 5:40 p.m., in the final hours of the long-running and well-attended event.
Jonathan Schiabica, who owns an olive oil business in Modesto, says two of his employees were packing up their booth when the gunfire started. He got a frantic phone call from one of his workers. “He’s just yelling, ‘Active shooter!’ Just yelling it over the phone,” Schiabica said. “You can hear him running. I can’t be certain, it sounded like I might have heard gunshots in the background.” The men were separated in the chaos. One found police, the other called his boss before hiding in a freezer. “For half a second, you’re like, ‘Is this a joke?’ And then literally, within half a second, I go, ‘There was no joke here.’ Definitely gives you that chill up your spine and not in a good way,” Schiabica said. After roughly 20 minutes of waiting and wondering, some relief came in the form of text messages from his employees letting him know they were out of harm’s way. In the meantime, vendors and attendees will have to wait to retrieve their belongings until investigators wrap up processing the scene.


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