Gilroy Police Chief, valley residents react to and detail the deadly festival shooting

Local News

GILROY, California – The Gilroy Police Chief detailed the deadly shooting at an annual, beloved festival that killed several and injured more than a dozen people.

Two people from the Central Valley share their connection to the shooting, and even document the experience live at the festival.


Gunfire broke out around 5:40 p.m. at the Gilroy Garlic Festival during the very last hours of the three-day event.

Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee called the shooting “tragic” and “senseless” as a gunman open fired in the north end of the event.

He says one suspect was shot and killed by a Gilroy Police officer and they believe a second suspect is on the run. However, Smithee says it’s unknown the role the second suspect played.

Three victims are confirmed dead and at least fifteen others are injured.

Dozens of officers remain at the scene hours later, piecing together what led up to the gunfire. He says officers from Monterey County are assisting as well.

There are no victim or suspect identifications as of Sunday night.

Smithee says there were no known posted security cameras at the festival.

There will be more information Monday morning, he says, as officers continue working leads.


A Central Valley mom, Yvonne Williams, says her son moved to Gilroy just two weeks ago to play football at Gavilan College.

“(He) said ‘Mom, I just wanted to tell you I’m OK,’ he says everyone made it out OK. He’s shaken up, he was crying,” she explained.

Her son, Devin Pacheco, was working at his college’s booth at the festival.

She says, “One of his teammates did see the shooter. And said he didn’t look angry, wasn’t yelling or anything, just started shooting.”

Pacheco immediately got back to his apartment, retreating for safety from the gunfire.

“My heart goes out to all the families and everything, but I just thank god it wasn’t him,” she says.


Caught on Facebook live, a man from Turlock shared his experience at the festival in a four minute long capture.

He says he thought the fire gunshot was a table collapsing since it was the last day of the event, maybe someone was cleaning up, he thought.

“We were standing in line by one of the exits waiting for the famous take home garlic bread. We heard the first pop and I thought it was just a table being collapsed since it was almost closing and I thought vendors were starting to clean up,” he explained.

He adds, “We then heard multiple pops about 30 seconds after and then realized it was gun shots. We ran out and hid behind a shuttle van for about 3 minutes before leaving the area. Police response was very fast and people were running everywhere.”

Anyone with information about the incident or witnesses the shooting, is asked to call 408-846-0583.

A number has been set up to help reunify families, and the number is 408-846-0584.

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