Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting: What we know about suspect Santino William Legan – Los Angeles Times
In the hours before Santino William Legan is alleged to have begun firing into a crowd at the Gilroy Garlic Festival, police say the 19-year-old posted a photo on Instagram
with the caption, “Ayyy garlic festival time come get wasted on overpriced …,” using an expletive.
He also posted a photo of a Smokey Bear sign warning about fire danger with a caption instructing people to read the novel “Might Is Right” by Ragnar Redbeard, authorities said.
The book, published in 1890, includes discredited principles related to Social Darwinism that have been used to justify racism, slavery and colonialism, said Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center on Hate and Extremism.
“The notion that people of color are biologically inferior is a key tenet of this book, and that biological determinism, the Darwinian view of the world, justifies aggression against diverse people and vulnerable people,” Levin said.
Legan was identified by
as the shooter who
opened fire at the crowded Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday, killing three and wounding 12 others. Officers who were patrolling the park during the event shot and killed Legan after the rampage.
Smithee said the gunman was able to circumvent the festival’s security by entering from a creek area and cutting through a fence.
The AK-47 that was used in the attack was purchased legally in Nevada on July 9. Legan was originally from Gilroy, but spent some time in Nevada living with family, according to Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee.
Police on Monday searched a house linked to Legan at the end of a quiet suburban cul-de-sac in Gilroy. Officers emerged from the house carrying several paper bags.
A law enforcement source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said
police were still trying to determine a motive for the attack, adding detectives were digging into the suspect’s
social media accounts for indications of his belief system and opinions.
Books and movies, Levin said, are often used in the radicalization process, and “Might Is Right”, like others that used to be obscure, is easily found on the Internet.
“It’s certainly not the most popular available titles in the virtual Aryan book club available 24 hours a day on a computer screen nearest you,” Levin said. “It stands out as among the worst bigoted screeds of its era promoting biological determinism and racial prejudice.”
Legan identified himself as being of Italian and Iranian descent in his Instagram profile, authorities said, which has since been deleted.
Legan appears all but absent from social media.
It’s unclear whether the suspect was targeting specific people or shooting randomly.
Legan lived in Gilroy, not far from the site of the famed food festival. His grandfather was a former Santa Clara County supervisor.
Santino Legan comes from a sports-dedicated family.
His brother, Rosino Legan, 23, is a boxer training for the 2020 Olympics with USA Boxing. In a 2014 Medium post, he wrote about his experience with the 2013 California vs. Puerto Rico boxing team and described his father, Tom Legan – a competitive track-and-field runner – as his coach.
In a 2017 Gilroy Dispatch article, Santino Legan is described as one of his brother’s “ready-made sparring partners,” in addition to his two other brothers.
Rosino Legan is a 2018 graduate of Santa Clara University and graduated from a high school east of Santa Cruz.
Jack Van Breen, lead vocalist and guitarist for the local band TinMan, told reporters that his group was playing an encore when he heard a pop. He turned in the direction of the noise and saw a man “in a green top with a gray handkerchief kind of around his neck and what appeared to be an assault rifle.”
“He started shooting again in the direction of where all the food people were dining,” Van Breen told the Associated Press.
He heard someone shout: “Why are you doing this?” and the reply: “Because I’m really angry.”
Ernesto Mendoza said a caravan of police vehicles streamed into his quiet Gilroy area Sunday evening, not long after reports of a shooting. Blaring from the vehicles’ loudspeakers was a message: Go inside and shut your doors, Mendoza said.
Authorities cordoned off the mouth of the cul-de-sac until about 1 a.m., when the vehicles streamed out, he said.
Mendoza believed they were just making sure the neighborhood was safe — he often runs in the park where the festival is held, just a 30-minute jog from his home. It wasn’t until Monday morning, when reporters asked Mendoza what he knew of his neighbors, that he realized the shooter may have lived on his street.
“Our neighbor? We don’t want to speculate it’s our neighbor, because we don’t know yet,” he said. “It’s terrible. How many years have they been doing that festival? It’s supposed to be very quiet.”
Times staff writers Matthew Ormseth, Laura J. Nelson and Ruben Vives reported from Gilroy, Calif., and Hannah Fry, Hailey Branson-Potts, Colleen Shalby and Richard Winton from Los Angeles.