Festival shooter Santino Legan legally purchased his rifle in Nevada. Here's what else we know about the 19-year-old

Article Image

A deadly mass shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in northern California killed three people and injured at least 11 others. TinMan band member Christian Swain tells CNN's John Berman they could "smell the gunpowder" from the stage.

Posted: Jul 29, 2019 10:57 AM
Updated: Jul 29, 2019 4:15 PM


Authorities say Santino William Legan killed three people, including a 6-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl, at the Gilroy Garlic Festival with a rifle he legally purchased three weeks ago in Nevada.

The third fatality was a man in his 20s, and at least 12 other people -- ranging in age from 12 to 69 years old -- were injured in the attack, authorities said in a news conference Monday.

The gunman, 19, opened fire on the crowds attending the outdoor festival around 5:40 p.m. local time Sunday, according to Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee, and was fatally shot within one minute by three officers already on the scene.

'It could have gone so much worse, so fast,' said Smithee, who thanked the officers on duty at the festival for responding so quickly.

Monday morning, several police cars were outside the home of Legan's father in Gilroy, a city of about 48,000 people.

What officials say about the shooter

The shooter had an assault-style rifle and appeared to shoot at random, Smithee said. The SKS, an 'AK-47-type' rifle, was purchased legally in Nevada on July 9, he said, adding that his understanding is that Legan purchased the weapon himself.

It is believed that Legan, though originally from Gilroy, had been living with family members in Nevada, Smithee said, adding that he does not know how long Legan had been back in California.

The FBI searched a residence in Walker Lake, located in Mineral County, Nevada, 'believed to have been used by' Legan in the days prior to the incident, according to Mineral County District Attorney Sean Rowe.

Witnesses reported seeing a second individual who has not yet been identified or found. 'We've had multiple reports but different people give different versions so we don't know at this point' if another suspect was involved or to what extent, said Smithee.

Police believe the suspect cut through a fence near the creek with a tool to enter onto the event grounds in Gilroy, which is about 30 miles south of San Jose. There were no security cameras at the festival, according to Smithee.

The FBI Evidence Response Team from San Francisco has arrived and is currently processing the scene at the festival, according to the official source. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is also there, along with various state and local police and fire departments, though no further information is available.

Instagram posts hours before attack

An Instagram account, which was created four days ago under the suspect's name, posted two messages shortly before the attack began.

One included a photograph of people walking around the Garlic Festival with the words 'Ayyy garlic festival time Come get wasted on overpriced sh**.'

The other, which included a photo of Smokey the Bear and a sign saying 'Fire Danger High Today,' stated: '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**s?'

A mestizo is a person of mixed descent, commonly white and Hispanic or white and American Indian.

'Might is Right,' first published in the late 1800s, has been described as a white supremacist text that promotes anarchy while vilifying Christianity. The book calls Jesus the 'true Prince of Evil' and says that the natural order is a world at war in which the strong must vanquish the weak and white men must rule over those of color.

Eyewitness description

Julissa Contreras, who was standing within 20 feet of the shooter, told CNN's Natalie Allen the gunman 'looked like the average guy.

'White, about in his 30s, under 6 feet. He was wearing tactical gear, had a baseball cap on, sunglasses, and he had a semi-automatic rifle. He was dressed for what he was there to do.'

Contreras also said that 'he didn't look angry,' though she added that his 'expression wasn't really something I could read on his face but he seemed very well-versed in what he was doing ... and he seemed confident in his use of the gun.'

Members of the band Tin Man, who were starting an encore when the shooting happened, told CNN the gunman was carrying a rifle and wearing a green shirt with a gray handkerchief tied around his neck. They also said that he sprayed gunfire from side to side with no direct target, creating pandemonium among the crowd.

Recollections of Legan

Josh Carman, who was a senior at Gilroy High School when Legan was a sophomore, told CNN that he knew who Santino Legan was but didn't know him well.

'I never had any classes with him or anything, so we never really got acquainted, I just have definitely seen him around school,' he said. 'He wasn't the type of person that everyone knew, but he didn't stand out as being too abnormal.'

Tanner Eastus, another Gilroy High School student who will enter senior year this fall, shared Carman's opinion. Eastus, who was at the festival with friends when the shooting happened, told CNN that '(Legan) seemed like a normal guy. I don't believe anyone expected anyone to do something like this, especially in Gilroy.'

Rosana Mendoza, a neighbor, recognized a photo of Legan that CNN showed her.

Last night at about 11:30 p.m., multiple law enforcement vehicles went to the house of the Legan family and she talked briefly with authorities, she told CNN.

'They told me the suspect is three houses from our house. I said, what, this teenager? They are all very nice.'

She said she does not know the family well but she would see the parents walking or Legan and his brothers playing basketball or hanging out in the front yard.

'I would say hi to them. They are very nice kids. When I found out this morning, I was shocked. This is a quiet place.'

What is not known

Police said a motive for the shooting remains unknown.

'It seems this was a random act, but we've got a long way to go before we can determine what his motivations were,' said Smithee.

Craig Fair, a deputy special agent in the San Francisco division of the FBI who is assisting in the investigation, said the primary quest at the moment is to understand Legan's motivation, ideological leanings and affiliations. As 30 members of the FBI's evidence recovery team comb the scene, nothing has been determined and nothing has been ruled out, said Fair.

Josh Campbell, a former FBI supervisory special agent, told CNN's Jim Sciutto that witnesses provided information to the police about a possible second suspect but 'we know there's almost always never a second shooter' in these types of mass killings.

Campbell noted the shooter was prepared, as demonstrated by the fact that he cut through the fence to avoid security and metal detectors. Among the questions that need to be answered is why the shooter wanted to get into the annual food festival, Campbell said, adding that the answer would speak to the gunman's motive.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 31715

Reported Deaths: 1984
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9189533
Lake3299167
Cass15826
Allen127766
St. Joseph117034
Hendricks112367
Hamilton109992
Johnson1082104
Elkhart100827
Madison58258
Porter48721
Bartholomew48033
Clark45838
LaPorte40821
Tippecanoe3733
Jackson3611
Howard35618
Delaware35434
Hancock31927
Shelby31421
Floyd31338
Boone28235
Morgan26124
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery22717
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2151
Noble18520
Grant18520
Harrison18521
Dubois1822
Greene16723
Warrick16426
Dearborn16221
Monroe16010
Henry1597
Vigo1477
Lawrence14322
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Carroll922
Kosciusko861
Daviess8216
Steuben792
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne695
Fayette654
Marshall641
LaGrange602
Jasper561
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay430
Jefferson411
Randolph403
Pulaski390
Clay391
Whitley392
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
Owen311
DeKalb291
Perry270
Huntington262
Benton250
Knox240
Crawford230
Wells230
Tipton221
Blackford201
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke170
Posey170
Spencer161
Gibson142
Ohio130
Adams121
Warren121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0152

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 112017

Reported Deaths: 4885
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook730973324
Lake7723250
DuPage7207340
Kane5761152
Will5188258
Winnebago195351
McHenry142767
St. Clair99172
Kankakee79942
Kendall71419
Rock Island63622
Champaign5647
Madison53954
Boone39716
Sangamon33126
DeKalb3253
Randolph2593
Jackson22810
McLean21110
Ogle1922
Stephenson1902
Macon18819
Peoria1797
Clinton17716
Out of IL1641
Union1417
LaSalle14012
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1304
Coles1169
Warren1140
Unassigned1100
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9211
Grundy892
McDonough835
Lee771
Cass670
Henry670
Tazewell673
Williamson551
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin411
Perry410
Pulaski400
Montgomery391
Vermilion391
Morgan341
Christian334
Livingston312
Douglas270
Jo Daviess270
Fayette202
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Mason170
Menard170
Woodford172
Shelby161
Bureau151
Mercer150
Carroll132
Hancock130
Franklin120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Piatt110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Schuyler100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 75°
Robinson
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 72°
Indianapolis
Scattered Clouds
74° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 74°
Rockville
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Casey
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Brazil
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
Marshall
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 75°
No Major Changes
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events