One Year Later: Community honors the lives lost in Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting

Gilroy Garlic Festival Shooting

GILROY, Calif. (KRON) – Sounds of gunfire and scenes of panic.

On this day one year ago, the Gilroy Garlic Festival was shattered by violence after a gunman started shooting.

Three people died and 17 others were injured.

On Tuesday night, the community is coming together to honor those who died.

Gilroy Mayor Roland Velasco and other community leaders observed a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the shooting at the garlic festival one year ago today.

“When the world knocks you down, get back up,” Velasco said. “We will claim victory each time we treat a neighbor with kindness, stand up for injustice, and seek understanding.”

The Gilroy Strong flag was raised high over Christmas Hill Park where resident Diana Phipps paid her respects at a memorial for those who died in the shooting: Trevor Irby, Keyla Salazar, and Stephen Romero.

“It affected everyone’s life in so many ways and as we go through the passage of healing through this process, there will be good days and bad days, and this is just a day we have to stop and remember how we’ve come from where we were last year,” Phipps said.

17 others were injured before police stopped the gunman.  

He would then take his own life.  

Since that day, the Gilroy Strong movement has raised $1.9 million for the victims and their families.

“Everybody got involved immediately after the shooting just to raise funds for these victims, it really speaks to the compassion of the community,” Velasco said.

On Tuesday, the park is quiet.  

The garlic festival sidelined not by the shooting but by the pandemic.  

Too bad because festival goers were ready to show they are not afraid to come back. 

Alma George and Kay Carlson are festival volunteers.

“I do know some people who had to run for their lives to get away from the situation and so I think they’re still healing,” George said.

“This town really comes together on anything, we’re really a close community,” Carlson said.

Festival proceeds help to fund several local non profits, some of which are now struggling.  

The shooting left a scar on the community, says District Attorney Jeff Rosen.  

A scar that is heeling and has left Gilroy that much stronger, says Mayor Velasco.

“In that sense it does leave a scar, it certainly touches the soul. But I think at the end of the day, Gilroy will be better off. Our sense of community is stronger and tighter than ever before,” Velasco said.

You can watch the ‘Rising Together’ memorial service on YouTube.

Latest Stories:

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Tracking COVID-19 in the Bay Area

Trending Stories

Latest News

More News