The Slatest

The Gilroy Garlic Festival Gunman Reportedly Posted Racist Comments in the Hours Before the Shooting

Police can be seen from behind at the scene of the shooting.
Police officers arrive on the scene of the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, California, on Sunday.
Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

Hours before he fatally shot three people (including two children) and wounded a dozen others at a festival in Gilroy, California, on Sunday, the gunman posted racist comments related to the festival on social media. In these comments, he recommended a white supremacist book advocating the idea of physical power as an organizing force for society.

Police fatally shot the gunman soon after the shooting spree began. He has now been identified as 19-year-old Santino William Legan from Gilroy. Police have not yet released much information about Legan, but according to CNN, a since-deleted Instagram account with Legan’s name was created four days ago. The first post mentioned the festival directly: “Ayyy garlic festival time come get wasted on overpriced shit.”

Another post hinted at extremist ideology. In the photo, Smokey Bear holds a sign that says “Fire Danger High Today.” The post’s caption advised reading a white supremacist, misogynist, and anti-Christianity book advocating for a kind of social Darwinism in which the values of strength and power supplant moral codes to form ideas of right and wrong. “Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white twats?” he wrote. The term “mestizo” refers to people of mixed white and Hispanic or Native American descent.

Along with a 6-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl, a man in his 20s was also killed, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee told reporters that the firearm used in the shooting, an assault-style rifle, was legally purchased in Nevada earlier in July. Smithee also said Legan had cut through a fence to get into the festival and avoid security measures.

Police have not yet established a motive. Witnesses told reporters that a gunman dressed in what appeared to be tactical gear fired more than a dozen times indiscriminately into the crowd. Smithee told reporters on Monday that despite earlier reports of a second suspect, there are no indications there was another gunman.