GILROY (KRON) — One month after tragedy struck the Gilroy Garlic Festival, there are still signs all over town reiterating the community’s strength.
Gilroy is strong, stronger than ever says Police Chief Scott Smithee.
“I think it has changed us,” Smithee said. “But at the same token, I also think we’re coming out of this stronger and the community is going to come together and support each other more so than they ever have before.
One month ago, a gunman cut through a fence and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing three people, including two kids and wounding 12 others.
“It’s a horrific tragedy that occurred at the garlic festival,” Smithee said. “And I don’t think we can ever lose sight of the victims — the three people that died or the people that were wounded or frankly, the people that were there and witnessed the emotional trauma.”
Memorials and vigils paid tribute Wednesday to the victims while fundraising for their families continues.
Christmas Hill Park remains closed amid a lengthy clean-up, but the investigation into the shooting is all but complete says the chief.
“You know our investigators have lots of leads and loose ends to follow up on,” Smithee said. “There are lots and lots of witnesses and lots of evidence that needs to be combed through. Our investigators will be working on this for quite some time in the future, but as far as activities at the park, that’s completely wrapped up.”
Despite already tight security at the garlic festival, there will be some changes next year.
Smithee also expects that volunteer spirit for which the festival is known, to be stronger than ever.
“You know, we can’t let a terrorist act by one individual change our lives and the way we do things,” he said. “I look forward to working with all these volunteers to make sure that our festival continues in the future.”