GILROY (KPIX 5) — With the Gilroy Garlic Festival grounds still technically a crime scene with restricted access, some residents on Monday were trying to get by without cell phones, purses and even vehicles over a week after the deadly incident.
Many Garlic Festival survivors were also dealing with the added stress of two more mass shootings over the weekend.
“It’s weird. It feels like this hasn’t really like ended you know?” said San Jose resident Cecilia Raynes, who was working a booth as a vendor.
The FBI is still sweeping a crime scene that spans over 50 acres at Christmas Hill Park. Three people were killed in the shooting and 13 people were injured.
She said she got the run-around while trying to retrieve her car from a Garlic Festival Parking lot. She didn’t get the car but she got a major case of stress.
“I’m half in a state of shock, and I don’t even have my car back and this one hasn’t even ended and then it keeps happening.”
She went to the victim assistance center being set up at the Wheeler Community Center in Gilroy, where she spoke to the FBI and other officials about her car.
But she said it has been a rough week that only got worse with the shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
Her feelings are common in the town of Gilroy. Residents are trying to stay strong, but are bending under the emotional stress.
“In the last week, we saw 555 people who were feeling the pain of having been through such a traumatic experience. But the intervening events that have happened across the country have just added to that emotional toll that people are feeling,” said James Gibbons-Shapiro, an Assistant District Attorney who is managing the victim assistance center.
The center, which opened at Rucker Elementary School last week, was closed Monday so it could be relocated. It will reopen at the Gilroy Library at 350 West Sixth Street on Tuesday.
“They don’t want to be out on the street, they’re afraid,” said Lola Ancira, a longtime Gilroy resident who sees a lot from her sitting area on Monterey Street.
She says the sidewalks have been emptier than normal in Gilroy.
“They are just concerned that something else is going to happen,” explained Ancira.
For Raynes, it’s a sad feeling that others want to just move on.
“Just like there’s an apathy almost; like, ‘You know you, didn’t die so…’ Like, what the hell? This shouldn’t be happening. This shouldn’t be happening. It’s very disturbing,” Raynes said.
The victim assistance center will continue to provide emotional counseling at the Wheeler Community Center and Gilroy High School.
On Tuesday, the center will be open for people to retrieve personal items left behind when bystanders had to evacuate the Garlic festival. The FBI says there are hundreds of cell phones, purses, strollers and other items people can claim.
Counseling in English and Spanish will be available at the center from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Representatives from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office and law enforcement organizing the return of personal belongings.