Coroner: Garlic Festival Gunman Killed Himself

Police stay focused on a target after a deadly shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Gilroy, Calif., on July 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

GILROY, Calif. (CN) – The gunman responsible for killing three people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in California killed himself, according to the Santa Clara County coroner – contradicting police accounts of the incident.

Nicole Lopez, a senior office specialist in the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner’s Office, said Santino William Legare, 19, turned the gun on himself after killing three people including two children.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee previously said three police officers killed the gunman after responding to the incident within one minute of the first shot being fired.

On Friday, Smithee continued to back the story, saying the officers engaged the gunman in a firefight, forcing him to cease shooting into the crowd and concentrate on the officers instead.

“Our officers hit him multiple times,” Smithee said. “It now appears that once he was on the ground he was able to get off a round and shoot himself. I don’t think this changes much of anything.”

Smith called the three officers “heroes” during a press conference a day after the shooting.

“Despite being outgunned, with handguns against a rifle, the officers were able to fatally wound the suspect,” Smithee said then.

The coroner’s findings come a day after the FBI downplayed white supremacy as a motive for the shooting, despite reports from the media that the gunman had touted a white supremacist manifesto on social media accounts in the days before the incident.

“We’re looking at multiple threads of conversations that he’s had,” said FBI Agent Michael Bennett at a press conference Thursday. “However, we’re still not comfortable in saying it’s an ideology, one way or another.”

The gunman accessed the garlic festival via a creek, cutting a hole in a chain link fence. He used an AK-47 assault rifle to kill three before turning the gun on himself.

The victims included Stephen Luciano Romero, a 6-year-old from San Jose, Keyla Salazar, 13, also from San Jose and Trevor Irby, a 25-year-old from Romulus, New York.

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