The gunman behind the deadly attack on the Gilroy Garlic Festival left no manifesto but showed signs of “exploring violent ideologies,” an FBI agent said on Tuesday announcing a domestic terrorism investigation has been launched into the attack.
The gunman, Santino William Legan, 19, left no evidence that he was inspired by previous mass shootings but FBI special agent-in-charge John Bennett described his ideology as “fractured” and said it’s still unclear “what, if any, ideology he settled on.”
Bennett added during a news conference that investigators are exploring if Legan had contact with anyone “regarding these ideologies” and whether anyone had advanced knowedge of his plan.
“Much of our work remains ongoing,” Bennett said. “One piece of evidence does not necessarily constitute a motive. Hence the need for thorough, methodical investigation.”
The Legan family issued a statement through an attorney on Tuesday, saying they were “heartbroken” for the damage caused by Santino Legan.
“We have never and would never condone the hateful thoughts and ideologies that led to this event,” the statement said. “It is impossible to reconcile this with the son we thought we knew.”
Legan had a list of targets that included religious institutions, federal buildings and both Democratic and Republican organizations, Bennett said. But ge left no manifesto or evidence to suggest he was inspired by previous mass shootings.
Three people were killed and 13 were injured in the attack on the annual festival that Gilroy residents and officials consider a showcase of the commmunity.
The three deceased victims have been identified as Stephen Romero, 6, Keyla Salazar, 13, of San Jose, and Trevor Irby, 25, who recently had moved to Santa Cruz from upstate New York.
“Our family is deeply shocked and horrified by the actions of our son. To the families of Stephen Romero, Keyla Salazar, Trevor Irby, and to the injured that survived this tragedy, we cannot begin to describe our despair at his actions,” the Legan family said in a statement. “We want to express our deepest and sincerest apologies for the loss and pain that he has caused.”
Legan died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head administered through the mouth, the coroner announced late last week. That contradicted an earlier police report that Legan had been fataly shot by three Gilroy Police Department officers who responded to the scene in less than a minute.
In an updated chronology presented during a Friday press conference, Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee said officers shot Legan when they arrived, bringing him to his knees and then down on the ground. Legan shot himself at some point during that confrontation.
On Tuesday, Smithee said Legan fired 39 rounds during his assault. The three responding officers fired 18 rounds, hitting the shooter multiple times. “I do not yet have a definitive finding from the coroner’s office on exactly where those rounds hit him or exactly how many rounds,” Smithee said, added that none of the deceased victims were hit by officer’s bullets.
Legan, Smithee said, was also wearing a bullet-resistant vest and on the scene officers found a 75-round drum magazine for his AK-47-style rifle, which still had 71 rounds left.
Legan had two 40-round magazines and an additional 40-round magazine was found loose no or near him
. In his car was a Remington 870 shotgun and a bag found in nearby creek contained two 40-round magazines, some loose rounds for both guns, a flashlight, a rifle scope and a shovel.
Investigators had earlier said it was unclear what had motivated Legan to attack the festival on Sunday, July 28.
In a since-removed Instagram post made shortly before the shooting, Legan encouraged people to read a 19th-century white supremacist manifesto popular with right-wing extremists.
Keyla’s family on Monday issued a statement thanking the community at large for its support. “Her tender smile and charismatic personality conquered everyone’s heart.
“Her intelligence, her strength, her tenacity motivated everyone to move forward,” the statement said. “She was a happy and resilient girl. Keyla’s greatest hope was to pursue a career in animation, but she also loved animals and was devoted to her dogs Lucky and Cinnamon, guinea pig Albert, rabbit Miss Jackson and cat Rosie.
“She loved helping others and always showed generosity for others, forgetting herself many times,” the statement said.