GILROY (CBS SF) — On the day of a 13-year-old victim’s funeral, federal investigators announced they were launching a domestic terrorism investigation into the shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival that claimed four lives, including the gunman, and left 13 others wounded.
John F. Bennett, FBI Special Agent In Charge of the San Francisco office, said investigators have yet to determine a motive, but determined 19-year-old Santino William Legan was “exploring violent ideologies.”
“Our collection and review of the digital media in this case is ongoing, we are continuing to access data on several devices,” Bennett said. “We have uncovered evidence throughout the course of our investigation that the shooter was exploring violent ideologies. We have seen a fractured ideology. The shooter appeared to have an interest in varying, competing violent ideologies.”
Bennett said the FBI investigators were trying to determine which ideology Levan may have settled on and if someone was aiding him.
Also discovered among Legan’s digital devices was a list of potential targets.
“The FBI and Gilroy police investigators have discovered a list of organizations that may have been potential targets of violence,” Bennett said. “These organizations from across the country include religious organizations, institutions, federal buildings, courthouses, political organizations of both major political parties and the Gilroy Garlic Festival.”
Bennett said the FBI was in the process of notifying the potential targets on Legan’s list, but would not make them public.
“Due to the discovery of the target list as well as other information we have encaptured in this investigation, the FBI has opened a full domestic terrorism investigation into this mass shooting,” he said.
The mass shooting a week later that killed 22 people at a crowded El Paso, Texas, Walmart store is also being handled as a domestic terrorism case.
Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee told reporters Tuesday that Legan fired off 39 rounds during the shooting spree. In his possession, Legan had a 75-round magazine with 71 rounds left and multiple 40-round magazines on his person and near him on the ground. A loaded shotgun was discovered in Legan’s car and he was wearing a bullet-resistant type of vest.
Smithee said that none of the victims were injured by fire from police officers who engaged in an exchange of gunfire with Legan.
According to investigators, Legan eluded Garlic Festival security by using “some sort of tool” to cut through a fence near a creek that borders a parking area. He was armed with a Romanian-made AK-47-style rifle, illegal in California, but purchased legally in Nevada.
Tinman lead singer Jack van Breen was just beginning an encore when he looked up and saw a man opening fire on the crowd. He told KPIX 5 he heard someone shout, “Why are you doing this?” He said the person responded, “Because I’m really angry.”
An Instagram account, which was created four days ago under Legan’s name, posted two messages shortly before the attack began.
One included a photograph of people walking around the Garlic Festival with the words “Ayyy garlic festival time Come get wasted on overpriced sh**.”
The other, which included a photo of Smokey the Bear and a sign saying “Fire Danger High Today,” stated: “Read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white tw**s?”
A mestizo is a person of mixed descent, commonly white and Hispanic or white and American Indian.
Legan’s deadly volley claimed three lives — 6-year-old Stephen Romero, 13-year-old Keyla Salazar and 25-year-old Trevor Irby — and wounded 13 others including Brynn Ota-Mathews and Gabriella Gaus.
“I saw him with the gun, and was kind of like, I just stared. And then he started rapid firing, and I was like ‘Let’s go,” Gaus said.
A bullet struck Gabriella in the shoulder, and fragments hit her back. Bryn took a direct hit in the back.
“It grazed my lung and it went through my liver, and it crushed my diaphragm,” said Ota-Matthews. “But my liver, is the best organ I guess, is what the doctors are telling me it heals really fast, so. I’m going to have a bullet in my liver for my whole life. I’m not going to be able to see it, or feel it, but it’s always going to be there.”
On Tuesday, two days after she would have turned 14, Keyla Salazar’s family laid her to rest. A funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Jose and then she was buried in nearby Palo Alto in a private ceremony.
In a statement, her family said Keyla’s smile brought much joy to those around her.
“Her tender smile and charismatic personality conquered everyone’s heart,” her parents wrote in a statement released by the Catholic diocese on Monday. “Her intelligence, her strength, her tenacity motivated everyone to move forward. She was a happy and resilient girl.”