The last thing anyone wants from a family day out is to hear two harrowing words: active shooter. In a terrible turn of events, a gunman opened fire on a popular California garlic festival in Gilroy this past Sunday. Without warning, the assailant began firing through a fence before turning to the Honey Ladies tent, according to USA TODAY. The business owners were both shot and wounded, but their son managed to get out unscathed, all thanks to a quick-thinking 10-year-old girl.
Candice Marquez was working at the Honey Ladies tent when the events unfolded, along with another woman. They quickly began backing away from the tent, but the gunman still had them in his sights. Marquez and other witnesses saw children still milling around the tent, but it was Marquez's niece that pulled the 3-year-old boy under a table instinctively.
Thanks to the 10-year-old's heroic actions, the toddler remained unharmed. Unfortunately, others at the festival weren't so lucky. A 13-year-old girl, a 6-year-old boy, and a visitor from New York perished at the hands of the shooter.
13-year-old Keyla Salazar lost her life when she stopped to help her stepfather's mom escape. The elderly lady wasn't mobile and walked with a cane, so Keyla stayed behind to get her to safety. Her stepfather tried to get back to aid them, but was also shot in the process. The shooter has been identified at 19-year-old Santino Willian Legan. It's currently not clear why Legan decided to attack festival-goers. Police officers were on the scene within one minute; Legan was shot dead when he turned the weapon on officers.
It's thought that five wounded people aged between 12 and 69 are still receiving treatment for their injuries in hospital. The families of Keyla, 6-year-old Stephen Romero, and 25-year-old Trevor Irby are devastated by their losses. Festival organizers did their utmost to keep those attending safe, even posting metal detectors and bag searches at the entrance. Legan, perhaps dissuaded by these measures, cut through a fence to gain entry.
The garlic festival is a celebrated annual event, that sees more than 100,000 people gather 80 miles southeast of San Francisco. The community is shocked and saddened.